Screening for Y-chromosome microdeletions in infertile Indian males: utility of simplified multiplex PCR

Anurag Mitra, Rima Dada, Rajeev Kumar, N P Gupta, Kiran Kucheria, S K Gupta
Indian Journal of Medical Research 2008, 127 (2): 124-32

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE: Analysis of the microdeletions in the azoospermia factor (AZF) region of Y chromosome by PCR is an important screening tool in the work-up of infertile males opting for assisted reproductive techniques. In the present study, the Y chromosome microdeletions were analyzed by PCR using primers corresponding to 16 sequence tagged sites (STS) and three genes of the AZF region in infertile Indian men. Feasibility of developing a simplified multiplex PCR for screening of the Y chromosome microdeletions has been explored.

METHODS: A total of 271 male subjects were analyzed, of which, 170 were infertile patients (51 oligospermic and 119 azoospermic) and 101 were fertile controls. Subjects showing normal karyotype only were included in the study. The semen analysis was done and plasma follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) concentrations were determined by radioimmunoassay. Testicular histopathology was analyzed by fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC).

RESULTS: Y chromosome microdeletions were observed in nine out of 170 (5.29%) infertile males all of whom were azoospermic. Of the nine subjects, two had deletions in AZFa, one in AZFb, three in AZFc and three in AZFb+c regions. No deletions were observed in the infertile severe oligospermic men (< 5 million sperm/ml semen) and fertile controls. No difference in the FSH concentrations of infertile patients with and without deletions (18.36 and 18.10 mIU/ml respectively) was observed. A clear relationship between Y chromosome microdeletions and testicular phenotypes could not be established. Two multiplex PCRs were designed using 7 STSs markers, which could detect Y chromosome microdeletions in infertile male subjects as efficiently as PCR based on larger number of PCR reactions.

INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSION: The multiplex PCRs described in the present study may be a suitable, cost-effective and less time consuming method for screening the Y chromosome deletions in infertile males in routine clinical diagnosis and counselling prior to assisted reproduction.

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