Comprehensive analysis of sperm DNA fragmentation by five different assays: TUNEL assay, SCSA, SCD test and alkaline and neutral Comet assay

Authors

  • J. Ribas-Maynou,

    Corresponding author
    • Departament de Biologia Cellular, Fisiologia i Immunologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work
  • A. García-Peiró,

    1. Departament de Biologia Cellular, Fisiologia i Immunologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain
    2. Centro de Infertilidad Masculina y Análisis de Barcelona (CIMAB), Edifici Eureka, PBM5, Parc de Recerca de la UAB (PRUAB), Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Spain
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work
  • A. Fernández-Encinas,

    1. Departament de Biologia Cellular, Fisiologia i Immunologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain
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  • C. Abad,

    1. Servei d'Urologia, Corporació Sanitària Parc Taulí, Sabadell, Institut Universitari Parc Taulí – UAB, Sabadell, Spain
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  • M. J. Amengual,

    1. UDIAT, Centre Diagnòstic, Corporació Sanitària Parc Taulí, Sabadell, Institut Universitari Parc Taulí – UAB, Sabadell, Spain
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  • E. Prada,

    1. Servei de Ginecologia, Hospital Universitari Mútua de Terrassa, Terrassa, Spain
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  • J. Navarro,

    1. Departament de Biologia Cellular, Fisiologia i Immunologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain
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  • J. Benet

    1. Departament de Biologia Cellular, Fisiologia i Immunologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain
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Correspondence:

Jordi Ribas-Maynou, Jordi Benet, Departament de Biologia Cellular, Facultad de Medicina, Fisiologia i Immunologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Bellaterra 08193, Spain. E-mails: jordi.ribas@uab.cat; jordi.benet@uab.cat

Summary

Sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF) is becoming an important test to assess male infertility. Several different tests are available, but no consensus has yet been reached as to which tests are most predictive of infertility. Few publications have reported a comprehensive analysis comparing these methods within the same population. The objective of this study was to analyze the differences between the five most common methodologies, to study their correlations and to establish their cut-off values, sensitivity and specificity in predicting male infertility. We found differences in SDF between fertile donors and infertile patients in TUNEL, SCSA, SCD and alkaline Comet assays, but none with the neutral Comet assay. The alkaline COMET assay was the best in predicting male infertility followed by TUNEL, SCD and SCSA, whereas the neutral COMET assay had no predictive power. For our patient population, threshold values for infertility were 20.05% for TUNEL assay, 18.90% for SCSA, 22.75% for the SCD test, 45.37% for alkaline Comet and 34.37% for neutral Comet. This work establishes in a comprehensive study that the all techniques except neutral Comet are useful to distinguish fertile and infertile men.

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