Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_90358

Diabetes linked to male infertility

9 May 2007
Appeared in BioNews 406

Researchers have found that diabetes may affect sperm quality, after a study comparing the DNA in sperm from diabetic and non-diabetic men found more DNA damage in the sperm cells of the diabetic men.

The study, conducted by the research group at Queen's University Belfast, with findings published in the journal Human Reproduction, found that around 52 per cent of the DNA in the sperm cells of diabetic men was fragmented, compared with only 32 per cent for the non-diabetic men. Fragmentation of the DNA in sperm is one of the main causes of male infertility, because it prevents the sperm from delivering intact genetic information to the egg, which is required for the creation of a viable embryo.

The study compared the sperm from 27 diabetic men with that from 29 non-diabetic men in their early 30s. Dr Ishola Agbaje, who lead the research project, said, 'Our study identifies important evidence of increased DNA fragmentation of nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA deletions in sperm from diabetic men'. He stated that these findings would have implications for male fertility, which has already been decreasing over the last 50 years. The increasing global incidence of diabetes could further propel the decline in male fertility.

Professor Sheena Lewis, director of the Reproductive Medicine Research Group, and co-author of the paper, said that the study was very small, and so served to highlight a possible concern. She stated that 'our study shows increased levels of sperm DNA damage in diabetic men. From a clinical perspective this is important, particularly given the overwhelming evidence that sperm DNA damage impairs male fertility and reproductive health'.

Professor Lewis said that further research would be needed to quantify the exact nature of the DNA damage caused by diabetes, and whether there were additional health effects for the children of diabetic fathers. Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, stressed the importance of the quality of sperm DNA, and further said that 'it would be important to understand the mechanism by which this damage occurs so that if it can be avoided we can work out how to do this'.

Matt Hunt, science information office at Diabetes UK, called for further research, after labelling the findings alarming. He said 'this is the first research to suggest DNA damage may be occurring at a cellular level and that it is a cause for great concern'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Diabetes Linked To Male Infertility
Medical News Today |  3 May 2007
Diabetes may cut male fertility
BBC News Online |  2 May 2007
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
14 July 2008 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
Two studies presented at the annual European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Barcelona have contributed new research findings into male infertility by examining the relationships between obesity and diabetes, and sperm quality. Studying the link between obesity and sperm quality, researchers from the University...
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.