Experimental mild increase in testicular temperature has drastic, but reversible, effect on sperm aneuploidy in men: A pilot study.


Université de Toulouse, UPS, Groupe de Recherche en Fertilité Humaine (EA 3694, Human Fertility Research Group), 330 avenue de Grande Bretagne, 31059 Toulouse, France; CECOS, Groupe d'activité de médecine de la reproduction, Hôpital Paule de Viguier, CHU Toulouse, 330 avenue de Grande Bretagne, 31059 Toulouse, France. Electronic address: [Email]


In mammals testicular and epididymal temperature increase impairs spermatogenesis. This experimental study investigates the effects of a mild testis temperature increase (i.e. testis temperature remains below core body temperature) on sperm aneuploidy in men. In 5 fertile volunteers a testicular temperature increase was induced by maintaining the testes at suprascrotal position using specially designed underwear for 15 ± 1 h daily for 120 consecutive days. After heating men were followed for next 180 days. A control group (27 men) was recruited. Semen samples were collected before, during and after heating period and analyzed for chromosomes X, Y and 18 for aneuploidy using FISH. A total of 234,038 spermatozoa were studied by FISH. At day 34 of heating, mean sperm aneuploidy values were not modified. From day 34 of heating until day 45 post heating, FISH evaluation was not possible due to the drastic fall of sperm count. At day 45 post-heating total sperm aneuploidy percentage was twice higher than before heating whereas. Sex disomy (sperm XY18), sex chromosome nullisomy (sperm 18) were significantly higher than controls. These effects were completely reversed at 180 days post heat exposure. Conclusion: A mild rise in testicular temperature significantly increases sperm aneuploidies, reflecting an effect on the meiosis stage of spermatogenesis. The effect of heating was reversible and suggests that recovery of aneuploidy to normal values requires at least two cycles of spermatogenesis. Nonetheless, the low number of volunteers was a limitation of this pilot study and warrants further research on larger population.


Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH),Male infertility,Sperm aneuploidy,Spermatogenesis alteration,Testis temperature increase,