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Biomarker potential of ELSPBP1 protein in sperm with high DNA fragmentation

Grant number: 19/26338-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2020
Effective date (End): May 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine - Surgery
Principal researcher:Ricardo Pimenta Bertolla
Grantee:Ana Carolina Cardillo Fernandes
Home Institution: Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Infertility is a conjugal problem that affects 15% of couples in reproductive age, in which the male factor is present in 50% of the cases. The etiology of the problem steam from several factors, for example illness or lifestyle. Despite semen analysis been utilized as a method for evaluation of male fertile potential, it has a low correlation with fertility, being unable of accurately diagnosing an infertile patient. Therefore, sperm functional tests were created to perform a deep evaluation of sperm alterations, of which we highlight sperm DNA fragmentation analysis. Sperm DNA fragmentation can occur due to three main mechanisms, such as apoptosis. Previous studies of our group have identified overexpressed sperm proteins in samples with high levels of sperm DNA fragmentation, and some of these proteins are related to apoptosis. Moreover, ELSPBP1 protein (Epididymal sperm-binding protein 1) was also overexpressed in these samples. It has been shown in bovines that this protein can bind to the sperm membrane and act in the epididymal sperm selection. Thus, we hypothesize that ejaculated sperm that present DNA fragmentation, express both the Fas protein, demonstrating the marking to suffer apoptosis, as the protein ELSPBP1, demonstrating the marking as an altered sperm. Therefore, the aim of this study is to evaluate the correlation between FAS and ELSPB1 expression and sperm DNA fragmentation. For this, semen samples from 50 normozoospermic men with sperm concentration equal or higher than 15 million sperm/mL will be used. In these samples, sperm DNA fragmentation will be evaluated using the TUNEL (Terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase dUTP nich-end labeling) assay, and the presence of Fas and ELSPBP1 proteins in sperm will be analyzed by immunocytochemistry. Data will be analyzed by Pearson or Spearman correlation tests, depending on the normality of data distribution. To evaluate if data are significant, the Cohen index will be used. An alpha error of 5% will be adopted for all analyzes. (AU)

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