News from CRG
The research, presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) annual conference in Geneva, Switzerland, describes for the first time the use of an experimental technique that has made it possible to analyse the functioning of human sperm in contact with the cytoplasmic content of the eggs in vitro. By doing so, it was possible to verify in the laboratory, and before fertilisation occurred, whether in this medium the sperm cell fulfilled its functions before being inseminated into an egg.
The research, led by Dr. Isabelle Vernos, ICREA research professor at the CRG, and Eugin Group, has been jointly carried out by a group of researchers in the laboratory at the Barcelona Science Park (BSP) and at the CRG. "The aim of the research was to develop a technique prior to the use of male gametes in an assisted reproduction cycle in order to verify whether their functions were developing correctly," explains Dr. Montserrat Barragan, co-author of the study.
After a study with 20 semen samples, the researchers were able to observe the relationship between the visible characteristics of sperm cells - such as morphology, concentration and motility - and their functional capacity in the first processes of cell division, namely, the first stages of embryo development. "Twenty samples of human sperm were analyzed and incubated ex vivo (outside a living organism) in the eggs of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), a model organism widely used in biomedical research". says Farners Amargant, the first author of the research. The sample of human sperm is brought into contact with the cytoplasm of the frog oocyte and from here we analyse its ability to construct the bipolar mitotic spindle and other functions involved in cell division.
Sperm morphology and motility alterations do not predict bipolar spindle assembly defects in the egg cytoplasm. Amargant F, Barragán M, Rodriguez A, Vassena R*. Vernos I*. ESHRE Annual Meeting 2017, Geneva (Switzerland).