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Evaluation of spermatozoal function—useful tools or just science

Niżański, W, Partyka, A, Prochowska, S
Reproduction in domestic animals 2016 v.51 Suppl S1 pp. 37-45
acrosome reaction, breeding programs, conception, decision making, diagnostic techniques, epigenetics, flow cytometry, genomics, hyaluronic acid, in vitro fertilization, insemination, male fertility, males, medicine, oocytes, proteomics, semen, spermatozoa, therapeutics, transcriptomics, zona pellucida
Conventional microscopic semen analysis does not provide precise information on the fertilizing potential of a male. The traditional basis for semen evaluation is that male fertility is dependent on production of a “proper” concentration/number of motile, morphologically normal spermatozoa in excess to achieve conception. Many independent studies, especially in human medicine, have demonstrated that the absolute number of spermatozoa does not accurately determine fertility, but their functional competence. Many functional tests of spermatozoa are developed over the last decades. Computer‐assisted sperm analysis (CASA) and flow cytometry have become the gold standard for semen assessment in specialized andrology laboratories. Other functional assays, such as gamete interaction tests, provide additional information regarding the real fertilizing potential of sperm cells. From this point of view, such tests are valuable diagnostic tools in fertility disorders and may be helpful to make a decision which method of treatment to use: pharmacological therapy, intrauterine insemination, introduction of classic IVF, ICSI or exclusion from a breeding programme. The most useful gamete interaction tests include induced acrosome reaction, zona pellucida binding assay, oocyte penetration assay and hyaluronan binding assay. In recent years, andrology has entered into a new era of sophisticated OMICS methods. Genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics and proteomics brought high hopes for rapid progress in clinical diagnostics.