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Volume 8, Issue 6 (November 2006) 8, 643–673; 10.1111/j.1745-7262.2006.00231.x

Genetic and epigenetic risks of intracytoplasmic sperm injection method

Ioannis Georgiou, Maria Syrrou, Nicolaos Pardalidis, Konstantinos Karakitsios, Themis Mantzavinos, Nikolaos Giotitsas, Dimitrios Loutradis, Fotis Dimitriadis, Motoaki Saito, Ikuo Miyagawa, Pavlos Tzoumis, Anastasios Sylakos, Nikolaos Kanakas, Theodor

1.Laboratory of Molecular Urology and Genetics of Human Reproduction, Department of Urology, Ioannina University School of Medicine, Ioannina 45110, Greece
2.Cytogenetics Unit, Laboratory of General Biology, Medical School, University of Ioannina, Ioannina 45110, Greece
3.Department of Urology, Tottori University School of Medicine, Yonago 683, Japan
4.Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Tottori University School of Medicine, Yonago 683, Japan

Correspondence: Prof. Nikolaos Sofikitis, Department of Urology, Tottori University School of Medicine, 36 Nishimachi, Yonago 683, Japan. Fax: +30-2651-0970-69. E-mail: akrosnin@hotmail.com

Received 20 May 2006; Accepted 20 July 2006.


Pregnancies achieved by assisted reproduction technologies, particularly by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) procedures, are susceptible to genetic risks inherent to the male population treated with ICSI and additional risks inherent to this innovative procedure. The documented, as well as the theoretical, risks are discussed in the present review study. These risks mainly represent that consequences of the genetic abnormalities underlying male subfertility (or infertility) and might become stimulators for the development of novel approaches and applications in the treatment of infertility. In addition, risks with a polygenic background appearing at birth as congenital anomalies and other theoretical or stochastic risks are discussed. Recent data suggest that assisted reproductive technology might also affect epigenetic characteristics of the male gamete, the female gamete, or might have an impact on early embryogenesis. It might be also associated with an increased risk for genomic imprinting abnormalities.

Keywords: genetic risks, epigenetic risks, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, testis, male infertility

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