Correlation between the DNA fragmentation index (DFI) and sperm morphology of infertile patients.

Giuseppina Capra, Liana Bosco, Nicola Serra, Giovanni Ruvolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose To evaluate the correlation between the DNA Fragmentation Index (DFI) and sperm morphology in patients undergoing ICSI, as a predictive parameter in reproductive outcomes.Methods A retrospective study was conducted on 125 infertile patients enrolled in a fertility clinic. Seminal characteristics were measured following the WHO guidelines (2010) for the examination of the seminal fluid. After collecting motile sperm popu- lation by pellet swim up, DFI was calculated and simultaneously associated with sperm morphology using in situ TUNEL assay and an image analyzer software in at least 250 spermatozoa for each patient.Results All subjects were divided into two groups according to a cutoff established, by choice, of the sperm DFI (15%): group A (< 15%) consisting of 65 patients and group B (≥ 15%) of 60 patients. Data were analyzed using non-parametric statistical methods. The results demonstrate that there is no statistical difference between the two groups in seminal characteristics. The collective data show a high significant correlation, suggesting that spermatozoa with abnormal morphology are the best candi- dates to contain DNA damage (p < 0.001). Also, when group A is compared with group B, an increased percentage of morphologically normal spermatozoa with fragmented DNA was observed in patients, with DFI values ≥ 15% (p < 0.001).Conclusion These results are aimed at providing an exact value of DFI in morphologically normal spermatozoa, which will be helpful to the embryologist in evaluating the risk of transferring, during the ICSI procedure, a spermatozoon whit normal morphology but fragmented DNA.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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