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Volume 24, Issue 3 (May 2022) 24, 260–265; 10.4103/aja2021111

Sperm-specific protein ACTL7A as a biomarker for fertilization outcomes of assisted reproductive technology

Tian-Ying Yang1, Ying Chen1, Guo-Wu Chen1, Yi-Si Sun2, Zhi-Chao Li1, Xiao-Rong Shen2, Yi-Ni Zhang1, Wen He1, Dan Zhou1, Hui-Juan Shi2, Ai-Jie Xin2, Xiao-Xi Sun1,3,4

1 Shanghai Ji Ai Genetics and IVF Institute, Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200011, China
2 NHC Key Lab of Reproduction Regulation (Shanghai Institute for Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Technologies), School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China
3 Shanghai Key Laboratory of Female Reproductive Endocrine Related Diseases, Shanghai 200011, China
4 Department of Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200011, China

Correspondence: Dr. AJ Xin (aijie_xin@163.com) or Dr. XX Sun (xiaoxi_sun@aliyun.com)

Date of Submission 07-Jul-2021 Date of Acceptance 02-Dec-2021 Date of Web Publication 18-Feb-2022


Obtaining high-quality embryos is one of the key factors to improve the clinical pregnancy rate of assisted reproductive technologies (ART). So far, the clinical evaluation of embryo quality depends on embryo morphology. However, the clinical pregnancy rate is still low. Therefore, new indicators are needed to further improve the evaluation of embryo quality. Several studies have shown that the decrease of sperm-specific protein actin-like 7A (ACTL7A) leaded to low fertilization rate, poor embryo development, and even infertility. The aim of this study was to study whether the different expression levels of ACTL7A on sperm can be used as a biomarker for predicting embryo quality. In this study, excluding the factors of severe female infertility, a total of 281 sperm samples were collected to compare the ACTL7A expression levels of sperms with high and low effective embryo rates and analyze the correlation between protein levels and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) laboratory outcomes. Our results indicated that the ACTL7A levels were significantly reduced in sperm samples presenting poor embryo quality. Furthermore, the protein levels showed a significant correlation with fertilization outcomes of ART. ACTL7A has the potential to be a biomarker for predicting success rate of fertilization and effective embryo and the possibility of embryo arrest. In conclusion, sperm-specific protein ACTL7A has a strong correlation with IVF laboratory outcomes and plays important roles in fertilization and embryo development.

Keywords: actin-like 7A; assisted reproductive technology; biomarker; embryo quality; in-vitro fertilization outcomes

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Asian Journal of Andrology CN 31-1795/R ISSN 1008-682X  Copyright © 2023  Shanghai Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences.  All rights reserved.