Dynamic Sperm DNA Damage

The comparative analysis of the dynamics of sperm DNA damage in different mammalian species indicates that the resistance of the chromatin to external stressors is different for each species once the sperm is incubated ex vivo for ART. In other words, the extent of sperm DNA damage as a function of time is different for each species when the sperm in handled ex vivo, accumulating DNA impacts of different intensities at different times. While in species such as the boar or deer, the calculated rate of sperm DNA damage is of the order of 0.05 per hour; this value is 15.2 in the case of the ram, which is close to a 300-fold higher [47]. Of course, before ejaculation and when mature spermatozoa are retained in the epididymis, these rates of sperm DNA damage are not assumable. Therefore, in light of this scenario, the concept of sperm DNA damage needs to be redefined, since in all mammalian species we may discriminate between two different types of sperm DNA damage. The constitutive sperm DNA damage corresponding to that observed in each individual right after ejaculation, mostly determined by chromatin remodelling and protamine cross-linking during the process of spermiogenesis and passage through the epididymis; and the so-called inducible or iatrogenic sperm DNA damage, which appears a posteriori, as a function of incubation time after sperm liquefaction and whose intensity is directly related to (1) the time and conditions of sperm handling and (2) the species-specific resistance of the chromatin. The latter aspect of the sperm chromatin behaviour seems to be linked to the design of each specific genome.

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