In the first study to compare the quality of DNA in sperm from diabetic and non-diabetic men, researchers at Queen’s University Belfast showed that the DNA in the nuclei of the sperm cells had greater levels of fragmentation in diabetic men, and that there were more deletions of DNA in the tiny, energy-generating structures in the cells called mitochondria.
Queen’s research fellow, Dr Ishola Agbaje, 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.”
Dr Agbaje and his colleagues examined sperm from 27 diabetic men in their thirties and found, that although semen volume was significantly less in diabetic men, there were no significant differences in sperm concentration, total sperm output, form and structure of the sperm or their ability to move. However 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 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, continued: “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.”
Professor Sheena Lewis, of Queen’s Reproductive Medicine Research Group, said: "Our study shows increased levels of DNA damage in sperm from diabetic men. From a clinical perspective this is important, given the growing body of evidence that sperm DNA damage can impair male fertility and even the health of future generations. 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.”
However, Professor Lewis added: “that it was not possible to determine from this current study whether the DNA damage caused by diabetes would have the same effect on men's fertility 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," she said.
Lisa Mitchell | alfa
Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy