Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First research to show that diabetes damages DNA in men’s sperm and may affect fertility

03.05.2007
Scientists have found that sperm from diabetic men have greater levels of DNA damage than sperm from men who do not have the disease. They warn that such DNA damage might affect a man’s fertility.

In the first study [1] to compare the quality of DNA in sperm from diabetic and non-diabetic men, the researchers from Belfast, Northern Ireland showed that the DNA in the nuclei of the sperm cells had greater levels of fragmentation in diabetic men (52%, versus 32% in non-diabetic men), and that there were more deletions of DNA in the tiny, energy-generating structures in the cells called mitochondria (4 versus 3).

Dr Ishola Agbaje, who undertook the research published online today (Thursday 3 May) in the journal Human Reproduction, said: “As far as we know, this is the first report of the quality of DNA in the nucleus and mitochondria of sperm in diabetes. Our study identifies important evidence of increased DNA fragmentation of nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA deletions in sperm from diabetic men. These findings cause concern, as they may have implications for fertility.”

The incidence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is increasing rapidly worldwide. While diet and obesity are known to be key factors in the increase of type 2 (or late onset) diabetes, type 1 diabetes which is usually diagnosed in childhood or adolescence, is increasing by three per cent a year in European children, although the reason for this is not entirely clear. Genetic factors that make people more susceptible, or environmental factors such as viruses that may trigger the onset of type 1 diabetes, could play a role.

Dr Agbaje, a research fellow in the Reproductive Medicine Research Group at Queen’s University, Belfast, said: “If the increasing trend in the incidence of type I diabetes continues, this will result in a 50% increase over the next ten years. As a consequence, diabetes will affect many more men prior to and during their reproductive years. Infertility is already a major health problem in both the developed and developing world, with up to one in six couples requiring specialist investigation or treatment in order to conceive. Moreover, the last 50 years have seen an apparent decline in semen quality. Sperm disorders are thought to cause or contribute to infertility in 40-50% of infertile couples. The increasing incidence of systemic diseases such as diabetes may further exacerbate this decline in male fertility. However, it is not clear to what extent clinics consider information about the diabetic status of their patients when investigating fertility problems.” [2]

Dr Agbaje and his colleagues examined sperm from 27 diabetic men, with an average age of 34, and 29 non-diabetic men with an average age of 33. They found that although semen volume was significantly less in diabetic men (2.6 versus 3.3 ml), there were no significant differences in sperm concentration, total sperm output, form and structure of the sperm or their ability to move. When they measured DNA damage they found that the percentage of fragmented nuclear DNA was significantly higher in sperm from the diabetic men and that the number of deletions in mitochondrial DNA was also higher – the number of deletions ranged from three to six (average four) in the diabetic men and from one to four (average three) in the non-diabetic men.

Professor Sheena Lewis, scientific director of the Reproductive Medicine Research Group, said: “Our study shows increased levels of sperm DNA damage in diabetic men. From a clinical perspective this is important, particularly given the overwhelming evidence that sperm DNA damage impairs male fertility and reproductive health. Other studies have already shown that, while the female egg has a limited ability to repair damaged sperm DNA, fragmentation beyond this threshold may result in increased rates of embryonic failure and pregnancy loss. In the context of spontaneous conception, sperm DNA quality has been found to be poorer in couples with a history of miscarriages.”

However, Prof Lewis said that it was not possible to say from this current study whether the DNA damage caused by diabetes would have the same effect on men’s fertility and the health of future children as DNA damage caused by other factors such as smoking.

“This is just one, relatively small study that highlights a possible concern. Further studies need to be carried out in order to understand the precise nature of the diabetes-related damage, the causal mechanisms and the clinical significance. Given the global rise in the prevalence of diabetes, it is also vital to examine the reproductive outcomes of pregnancies fathered by diabetic men, and the prevalence of diabetes amongst men attending for infertility treatment,” she concluded.

[1] Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus: implications for male reproductive function. Human Reproduction. doi:10.1093/humrep/dem077.

[2] Studies have estimated the prevalence of diabetes in sub-fertile men as 1% – three times more than expected (0.3%), given the prevalence of diabetes and male infertility in the general population. This suggests that diabetes is having a significant impact on male fertility.

Emma Mason | alfa
Further information:
http://www.oxfordjournals.org/eshre
http://www.oxfordjournals.org/eshre/press-release/freepdf/dem077.pdf

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk

17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials

17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Fraunhofer HHI receives AIS Technology Innovation Award 2018 for 3D Human Body Reconstruction

17.01.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>