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Prospective assessment of Y-chromosome microdeletions and reproductive outcomes among infertile couples of Japanese and African origin



To compare the frequency of Y-chromosome microdeletions in Japanese and African azoospermic and oligozoospermic men and describe embryo characteristics and reproductive outcome following in vitro fertilization (IVF) with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).


Our study was performed prospectively at two centers, a private IVF clinic and a university hospital. Japanese and African (Tanzanian) men with nonobstructive azoospermia (NOA) and oligozoospermia (concentration < 5 × 106 /ml) were evaluated for Y-chromosome microdeletions (n = 162). Of the 47 men with NOA, 26 were Japanese and 21 were Africans. Of the 115 men with oligozoospermia, 87 were Japanese and 28 were Africans. Reproductive outcomes of patients with Y-chromosome microdeletions were then compared with those of 19 IVF+ICSI cycles performed on couples with Y-chromosome intact males/tubal factor infertility which served as a control group.


Seven azoospermic and oligozoospermic patients had Y-chromosome deletions; the total number of deletions in the AZFc region was five. There was only one deletion in the AZFa region and one complete deletion involving all three regions (AZFa, b, and c) within AZF. In our study population, microdeletion frequency among Japanese men was 6.2% (95% CI, 4.25% – 14.45%), whereas no deletions were identified in the African group (95% CI, 0.0% – 7.27%). The difference between the two groups was not statistically significant, however. Embryos derived from ICSI utilizing sperm with Y-chromosome microdeletion showed reduced rates of fertilization, blastocyst development, implantation, and pregnancy compared to the Y-chromosome intact group, although these observed differences were not statistically significant.


The observed frequency of Y-chromosome microdeletion was 6.2% among Japanese azoospermic and oligozoospermic males; no microdeletions were identified among our African study patients. In this population of couples undergoing IVF+ICSI, there was no statistically significant difference in embryo characteristics or pregnancy outcome between patients with Y-chromosome microdeletion and those with an intact Y-chromosome.


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We wish to thank Dr. Takafumi Utsunomiya, Yoko Kumasako and Keiko Hirotsuri of St. Luke hospital for their advice and technical help ; We also wish to thank Prof. Kensuke Yamamoto, Dr. Kazuo Aoki, Prof. Junichi Misumi and Akira Kono of Oita University school of Medicine for their help in study design and constant examination of our data; Drs. Ramzy E. Kisanga and Godfrey Lema of Muhimbili University of college science, Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania for their technical assistance while in Tanzania and San Francisco Edit for editing this manuscript.

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Kihaile, P.E., Yasui, A. & Shuto, Y. Prospective assessment of Y-chromosome microdeletions and reproductive outcomes among infertile couples of Japanese and African origin . J Exp Clin Assist Reprod 2, 9 (2005).

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