Diabetes and fertility in men

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UK scientists have discovered there is a higher occurrence of DNA damage in the sperm of diabetic men than of men who do not have diabetes. Diabetic men may be less fertile.

The research team was led by Dr. Ishola Agbaje, a research fellow in the Reproductive Medicine Research Group at Queen’s University, Belfast. They compared the quality of the sperm from diabetic and non-diabetic men. To do so, they examined th nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.

There was some good news though. On many points the sperm compared favorably. They found that semen volume was slightly lower in diabetic men even though the sperm concentration was not significantly different. Total sperm output, form structure and motility was very much the same between the two groups.

Problems occur at the DNA level. DNA was more fragmented in diabetic men’s sperm cells, 52% versus 32%. There were also more deletions in the mitochondrial DNA of diabetic men’s sperm.

“Diabetes is associated with increased sperm nuclear and mtDNA damage that may impair the reproductive capability of these men,” concluded the study.

“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 indentifies 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,” added Dr. Agbaje.

With Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes on the rise the effects of the diseases are important to know. For many infertile couples it is a mystery as to why they are having difficulty. This could be one more clue and one more area for study and medical intervention.

Source: Medical News Today


 
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