Evaluation of sperm samples from infertile men by flow cytometry

M. Wald*, L. M. Lewin, Y. Soffer, Y. Oschri, L. Shochat, M. Vigodner, R. Golan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: Human spermatogenesis begins at adolescence and continues throughout life. This process includes morphologic, cytologic and biological changes, leading to the formation of mature spermatozoa. Male infertility may be caused by several reasons, including oligozoospermia at variable degrees and complete absence of mature spermatozoa. Routine spermatogram, measuring sperm counts, motility and morphology, might not provide complete information in the evaluation of these cases. This study is aimed to evaluate the possible use of flow cytometry in the identification of different sperm cell populations in sperm samples obtained from infertile men, and in determining the different cell types in various groups of infertile men. Materials and methods: Sperm samples from normal and infertile men (the latter were azoospermic or oligoteratozoospermic - OTA) underwent flow cytometry analysis, after preparation with TNE buffer and staining with Propidium Iodide. The separation of germinal cells into different populations, according to their DNA content and chromatin condensation, was evaluated. The WINMDI (http://facs.-scripps.edu, J. Trotter) software was used for data analysis. Results: Flow cytometric analysis enabled identification of several cell populations in sperm samples, including haploid, diploid and tetraploid cells. Certain cellular distribution patterns were observed in sperm samples from infertile men: mature haploid cells, diploid cells, domination of tetraploid or non-mature haploid cells, and combination of these patterns. These patterns appeared in a statistically different manner among fertile and infertile men; the median value of mature haploid cells was higher in normal men (91%, compared to 85% in the OTA group and 0% in the azoospermic men), while the median value of diploid and tetraploid cells was higher in azoospermic men (72% and 8.5% respectively, compared to only 1% and 0% in normal men). Conclusions: These findings suggest that flow cytometry of sperm samples may serve as a non-invasive tool for investigations of male infertility and for identification of appropriate candidates for interventional treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-25+86
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Azoospermia
  • Flow cytometry
  • Male inbertility
  • Spermatogemesis


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