Better training for lab technicians and a qualified regulatory authority is needed in India to improve the quality of semen analysis which can go a long way in management of Male Infertlity, said Professor Suresh C. Sikka, Prof. & Research Director of Urology, Tulane University, NewOrleans, USA.
He was addressing a plenary session on “Recent Advances in Male Fertility Research,” at the 108th Indian Science Congress. Prof. (Dr.) Premendu P. Mathur, Vice Chancellor, Birla Global University, Bhubaneswar, chaired the session.
Prof. Sikka said, epidemiological data suggest that many environmental issues, stress, smoking, marijuana & other CNS stimulants, drugs, food additives, genetic factors, etc. affect entire spectrum of male fertility. This is of grave concern to young couples desiring children, healthcare workers, and public health officials. These factors can also affect in-utero development of the fetus, leading to higher rates of congenital anomalies and adverse birth outcomes which could be critical for clinical decision-making, as well as for correctly evaluating reproductive outcome. Such knowledge can be gauged in the male by doing standardized semen analysis and finding if there is reduced sperm quality, fertilization capacity (both assisted and unassisted), or other effects.
“It is surprising to note that nearly one out of every three drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) need warnings regarding reproductive safety issues, even after approval., “ he said. “Our current drug safety studies have shown that many laboratories and technicians, especially from India, have greatly stumbled in their analysis, he said and emphasized standardized training of technicians and specialized laboratories and the role of regulatory bodies to improve the quality of such technicians and such evaluations.
Dr. Pradeep G. Kumar, Scientist G (Retd), Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thycaud PO, Poojappura, Thiruvananthapuram, spoke on “Identification of molecular markers of male factor subfertility.”
He said. impaired spermatogenesis is the major cause of non-obstructive azoospermia (presenting total lack of spermatozoa in the testis) and non-obstructive oligozoospermia (presence of chronically low number of spermatozoa in the semen, usually <20 million/cc).
Research in this field has started to indicate abnormal expression of a few genes both before and after the first meiotic division associated with these male infertility disorders. “We tested the hypothesis that proteome level defects could be associated with male infertility through global proteome profiling strategy that would give a blueprint of the sum total of the defects in proteome associated with this syndrome. In total, 598 proteins were detected by mass spectrometry, out of which 512 proteins were identified by Uniprot and 320 proteins were observed to be expressed uniquely or differentially among various groups of fertile and infertile samples. 34 proteins were found to be unique to fertile individuals.
He said, the result of his study indicate a complex array of defects involving several key pathways and processes across the patient population. “Based on our results, we have developed a protein chip for the detection of 19 critical sperm proteins which we believe are indispensable for successful sperm functioning that leads to fertilization and early embryo development.
Prof Luna Samanta, Professor, Redox Biology & Proteomics Laboratory, Department of Zoology, Centre of Excellence in Environment & Public Health, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack, delivered a talk on Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL).
She pointed out that there is uneven contribution of women and men to reproduction. Albeit, both partners share equally towards the genetic complement of the child by gamete fusion; women take the strain of gestation and delivery.
RPL is defined as two or more successive and spontaneous pregnancy losses before 20 weeks of gestation and affects about 1to 2% of couples. In a considerable number of cases; the causes of RPL remain unknown resulting in complications in treatment and high levels of stress in couples. RPL is usually evaluated from a women’s perspective, nevertheless, current literature entails that paternal (male) factors play an important role in embryo development and pregnancy continuation as paternally expressed genes predominate placenta.
“Therefore, we hypothesize that analysis of the cargo of the SEVs in semen of fertile men and partners of RPL patients may reveal cues to understand paternal contributions in RPL. Impaired modulation of immune response and improper placental development due to altered cytokine levels in seminal components may be the contributing paternal factors in RPL along with the DNA damage, she said.