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Volume 18, Issue 6 (November 2016) 18, 824–830; DOI:10.4103/1008-682X.186873

Spermiogram and sperm head morphometry assessed by multivariate cluster analysis results during adolescence (12-18 years) and the effect of varicocele

Fernando Vásquez1, Carles Soler2, Patricia Camps2, Anthony Valverde3, Almudena García-Molina2

1 Research Group on Reproductive and Sexual Health, Health Sciences Division, Universidad del Norte, P.O. Box 1569, Barranquilla, Colombia
2 Department of Functional Biology and Physical Anthropology, University of València, 46100 Burjassot, Valencia; R+D Department, Proiser R+D, Scientific Park, University of València, 46980 Paterna, València, Spain
3 Research Group on Reproductive and Sexual Health, Health Sciences Division, Universidad del Norte, P.O. Box 1569, Barranquilla, Colombia; Technological Institute of Costa Rica, Agronomy School, Animal Reproduction Department, San Carlos Campus, 223-21001 San Carlos, Costa Rica.

Correspondence: Dr. C Soler (carles.soler@proiser.com) and (carles.soler@uv.es)



This work evaluates sperm head morphometric characteristics in adolescents from 12 to 18 years of age, and the effect of varicocele. Volunteers between 150 and 224 months of age (mean 191, n = 87), who had reached oigarche by 12 years old, were recruited in the area of Barranquilla, Colombia. Morphometric analysis of sperm heads was performed with principal component (PC) and discriminant analysis. Combining seminal fluid and sperm parameters provided five PCs: two related to sperm morphometry, one to sperm motility, and two to seminal fluid components. Discriminant analysis on the morphometric results of varicocele and nonvaricocele groups did not provide a useful classification matrix. Of the semen-related PCs, the most explanatory (40%) was related to sperm motility. Two PCs, including sperm head elongation and size, were sufficient to evaluate sperm morphometric characteristics. Most of the morphometric variables were correlated with age, with an increase in size and decrease in the elongation of the sperm head. For head size, the entire sperm population could be divided into two morphometric subpopulations, SP1 and SP2, which did not change during adolescence. In general, for varicocele individuals, SP1 had larger and more elongated sperm heads than SP2, which had smaller and more elongated heads than in nonvaricocele men. In summary, sperm head morphometry assessed by CASA-Morph and multivariate cluster analysis provides a better comprehension of the ejaculate structure and possibly sperm function. Morphometric analysis provides much more information than data obtained from conventional semen analysis.

Keywords: adolescence; CASA-Morph system; seminal quality; sperm head morphometry; spermiogram; subpopulation

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