Open Access
Y chromosome and male infertility: update, 2006
Csilla Krausz1,Selene Degl'Innocenti1
Department of Clinical Physiopathology-Center for Research, Transfer and High Education, DENOthe, University of Florence, 50139 Florence, Italy.
DOI: 10.2741/2032 Volume 11 Issue 3, pp.3049-3061
Published: 01 September 2006
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sperm biology, from basic to clinic)

Male factor infertility accounts for about half the cases of couple infertility and in around 50% of cases its etiology remains unknown. Molecular genetic techniques have unveiled a number of etiopathogenetic factors, including microdeletions of the Yq. Y chromosome microdeletions removing the AZoospermia Factor (AZF) regions are the most frequent molecular genetic causes of oligo/azoospermia. The intense effort of many laboratories contributed to a better understanding of the clinical significance of this genetic anomaly and to the identification of fertility candidate genes in the AZF regions. Important progress has been made on the structure of the Y chromosome and the mechanism of deletion. Studies aimed to define a predisposing genetic background for Yq deletions were not successful, perhaps due to the low number of patients analyzed so far. The screening for Yq deletions became a routine diagnostic test that provides an etiology for spermatogenic disturbances, and assess in the prognosis for testicular sperm retrieval according to the type of deletion. Assisted reproductive techniques represent an efficient symptomatic therapy for men bearing Y microdeletions, however, this genetic defect is transmitted to the male offsprings, affecting their fertility. Future studies should focus on understanding the biological function of AZF genes which is an essential step for the development of more appropriate and knowledge-based therapies.

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Csilla Krausz, Selene Degl'Innocenti. Y chromosome and male infertility: update, 2006. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2006. 11(3); 3049-3061.