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Volume 20, Issue 5 (September 2018) 20, 498–504; 10.4103/aja.aja_25_18

Human sperm testicular angiotensin-converting enzyme helps determine human embryo quality

Marta Gianzo1, Itziar Urizar-Arenaza1, Iraia Muñoa-Hoyos1, Zaloa Larreategui2, Nicolás Garrido3, Luis Casis1, Jon Irazusta1, Nerea Subirán1

1 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Nursery, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Leioa, Biscay 48940, Spain
2 In Vitro Fertilization Laboratory, IVI Bilbao, Landabarri Promenade 1, Leioa, Biscay 48940, Spain
3 IVI Foundation, IVI Valencia, Local Police Square 3, Valencia 46015, Spain

Correspondence: Dr. N Subirán (nerea.subiran@ehu.eus)

Date of Submission 13-Jul-2017 Date of Acceptance 09-Mar-2018 Date of Web Publication 05-Jun-2018


Angiotensin-converting enzyme functions in the male reproductive system, but the extent of its function in reproduction is not fully understood. The primary objective of this work was to investigate the relationship between the testicular isoform of angiotensin-converting enzyme present in human spermatozoa and semen parameters, human embryo quality, and assisted reproduction success. A total of 81 semen samples and 635 embryos from couples undergoing oocyte donation cycles at the IVI Bilbao Clinic were analyzed. Semen parameters, embryos quality, and blastocyst development were examined according to the World Health Organization standards and the Spanish Association of Reproduction Biology Studies criteria. The percentage of testicular angiotensin-converting enzyme-positive spermatozoa and the number of molecules per spermatozoon were analyzed by flow cytometry. Both parameters were inversely correlated with human sperm motility. Higher percentages of testicular angiotensin-converting enzyme-positive spermatozoa together with fewer enzyme molecules per spermatozoon were positively correlated with better embryo quality and development. Our results suggest that embryos with a higher implantation potential come from semen samples with higher percentages of testicular angiotensin-converting enzyme-positive cells and fewer enzyme molecules per spermatozoon. Based on these findings, we propose that testicular angiotensin-converting enzyme could be used to aid embryologists in selecting better semen samples for obtaining high-quality blastocysts during in vitro fertilization procedures.

Keywords: angiotensin-converting enzyme; ART; embryonic development; human sperm; male fertility

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