Raman Analysis of Sperm Nuclear DNA Integrity

Raman map and the characteristic Raman spectra of native sperm

Raman map and the characteristic Raman spectra of native sperm (the video image of the sperm in the inset). Three distinct regions in the sperm are observed: proximal head, distal head and tail, as well as small details as vacuoles.

Raman Spectroscopy was evaluated as a non-invasive method of analysis of sperm DNA and the influence of UV irradiation on the sperm. The results show that Raman Spectroscopy, combined with multivariate analysis provide the reproducible and accurate information on DNA of sperm and the effect and location of damage.

Infertility has been and still it is a highly studied topic. It is known that sperm nuclear DNA (nDNA) integrity is a crucial factor for the success of male reproductive function. However, the status of sperm nDNA cannot be determined by the usual microscopic means which comprise routine semen analysis. Commercially available tests exist which assess the extent of sperm DNA fragmentation; however as they all result in the death of the sample they are of limited use to embryologists and ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) clinics. The aim of our study, published in detail in “Human Reproduction”, was to systematically appraise the utility of Raman microspectroscopy in analysing sperm nDNA status and can be compared to the results with established nDNA tests.

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