Androgen Receptor Gene CAG and GGN Repeat Polymorphisms in Chilean Men With Primary Severe Spermatogenic Failure


Institute of Maternal and Child Research, School of Medicine, University of Chile, Santa Rosa 1234, Postal Code 8360160, Santiago, Chile (e-mail:


ABSTRACT: There is ample documentation supporting the fact that androgens are required for normal spermatogenesis. A minority of infertile men have abnormal testosterone blood levels or mild androgen receptor mutations. We investigated the androgen receptor CAG and GGN repeat lengths in Chilean men with spermatogenic impairment. We studied 117 secretory azoospermic/oligozoospermic men (93 idiopathic and 24 excryptorchidic), without Y-chromosome microdeletions, and 121 controls with normal spermatogenesis (42 obstructive and 79 normozoospermic men). Peripheral blood was drawn to obtain genomic DNA for polymerase chain reaction and automated sequencing of CAG and GGN repeats. Testicular characterization included hormonal studies, physical evaluation, and seminal and biopsy analysis. The CAG and GGN polymorphism distributions were similar among idiopathic men, excryptorchidic men, and controls and among the different types of spermatogenic impairment. However, the proportion of the CAG 21 allele was significantly increased in idiopathic cases compared to controls (P = .012 by Bonferroni test, odds ratio = 2.99, 95% confidence interval, 1.27–7.0) and the CAG 32 allele only was observed in excryptorchidic patients (P < .0002, Bonferroni test). Idiopathic cases with Sertoli cell–only syndrome showed the highest proportion of the CAG 21 allele (P = .024, χ2 test). On the other hand, in idiopathic cases and controls the most common GGN allele was 23, followed by 24, but an inverse relation was found among excryptorchidic cases. The joint distribution of CAG and GGN in control, idiopathic, and excryptorchidic groups did not show an association between the 2 allele repeat polymorphisms (P > 0.05, χ2 test). Our results suggest that the CAG 21 allele seems to increase the risk of idiopathic Sertoli cell–only syndrome. Moreover, the GGN 24 allele could be contributing to deranged androgen receptor function, associated with cryptorchidism and spermatogenic failure.