Open Access
Article
Markers of human sperm functions in the ICSI era
Monica Muratori1,Sara Marchiani1,Lara Tamburrino1,Gianni Forti1,Michaela Luconi1,Elisabetta Baldi1
1
Department of Clinical Physiopathology, Andrology and Endocrinology Units, Center of Excellence DeNothe, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
DOI: 10.2741/3793 Volume 16 Issue 4, pp.1344-1363
Published: 01 January 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent progress in reproductive biology)
Abstract

The process of fertilization is crucial for species development and maintenance. Due to social and environmental problems, the number of infertile couples is increasing worldwide. Male and female factors contribute equally, and about 7% of men experiences problems in conceiving a child due to sperm defects. Assisted reproduction techniques (ARTs), including the most invasive intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), are the only available therapy for severe male factor infertility. Whether such techniques are associated with increased birth defects is still debated, and search for alternative options should go on. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the process of fertilization may lead to the development of new pharmacological strategies to treat infertile men and new male contraceptive agents. In addition, in view of the low predictive power of routine semen analysis, new tests aimed to better predict the fertilization potential could be developed. The present review summarizes current evidence of the molecular mechanisms involved in fertilization in human spermatozoa, with particular emphasis on the main post-ejaculatory maturation events, i.e. sperm capacitation and motility.

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Monica Muratori, Sara Marchiani, Lara Tamburrino, Gianni Forti, Michaela Luconi, Elisabetta Baldi. Markers of human sperm functions in the ICSI era. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2011. 16(4); 1344-1363.