Assessment of Sperm DNA Fragmentation for Patients Suffering from Varicocele


Background:Varicocele is an abnormal dilation of the testicular veins in the pampiniform plexusand characterized by retrograde blood flow in the internal spermatic veins due toincompetent or absent valves. It is considered one of the main causes of male factorinfertility. Sperm DNA integrity is essential for in vivo and in vitro fertilization, andvaricocele causes a progressive decrease in sperm quality .Objective:To study the impact of varicocele on semen quality and sperm DNAintegrity.Patients, Materials and Methods:Twenty patients with varicocele and 20 men without varicocele were assigned intotwo groups in the Out-Patient Clinic of Urology in Al-Kadhimya Teaching Hospital. Semen was collected from both groups and the rate of sperm DNA fragmentationassessed by the "Comet assay" and categorized to 4 classes. Class I (no DNAfragmentation), class II (little DNA fragmentation), class III (meaningful DNAfragmentation), and class IV (high DNA fragmentation) .Results: No statistically significant differences were found between the varicoceleand control groups with respect to age. Men with varicocele had significantlyhigher ejaculate volume, lower sperm concentration, and lower progressive motility,and showed more abnormal morphology than men in the control group. TheVaricocele group showed a lower percentage of sperm with little DNAfragmentation (class II) and a higher percentage of sperm with DNAfragmentation (class IV), than the control group.Conclusions:Compared with men without varicocele, men with varicocele had a higherpercentage of cells with DNA fragmentation .