Sperm Parameters and Chromatin Integrity in Men Suffering from Celiac Disease: Insights into Reproductive Health, Case-Control Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Animal Biotechnology, Reproductive Biomedicine Research Center, Royan Institute for Biotechnology, ACECR, Isfahan, Iran

2 Poursina Hakim Digestive Diseases Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

3 School of Health Management and Information Science, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Iranian Celiac Association, Isfahan, Iran

5 Isfahan Fertility and Infertility Center, Isfahan, Iran


Objective: Celiac disease is a common chronic inflammatory condition of the small intestine caused by permanent
intolerance to gluten/gliadin. It has been demonstrated that oxidative stress is one of the mechanisms that is involved
in gliadin toxicity, and there is a correlation between oxidative damage with this disease. Similarly, increased oxidative
stress was repeatedly reported in infertile men which led to low-quality of sperm function. Therefore, we aimed to
assess sperm parameters and chromatin status in men with Celiac disease.
Materials and Methods: In this case-control study, semen samples were collected from 11 fertile men without Celiac
and 10 men with diagnostic Celiac disease. Basic semen analyses were performed according to the World Health
Organization (WHO) 2010 protocol. The percentage of sperm with persistence histones, protamine deficiency, DNA
fragmentation, malondialdehyde (MDA), and intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) were assessed using aniline
blue, chromomycin A3, sperm chromatin structure assay, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) assay, and
diacetyldichlorofluorescein staining, respectively.
Results: Unlike the sperm parameters, which did not show significant differences between men with Celiac disease
and fertile individuals, sperm chromatin maturation (persistence histones and protamine deficiency) and sperm DNA
damage in men with Celiac disease were significantly higher compared to fertile individuals (P<0.05). In addition, the
percentage of sperm viability in these individuals was significantly lower than that in the fertile individuals (P<0.05). We
did not observe any significant differences in sperm lipid peroxidation and intracellular ROS levels between the two
study groups (P>0.05).
Conclusion: Celiac disease affects sperm chromatin maturation and DNA fragmentation, emphasizing its impact on
reproductive health.


Main Subjects

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