Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics

Protein phospholipase C Zeta1 expression in patients with failed ICSI but with normal sperm parameters.

PMID 24756570


This study was conducted to determine if expression of the testis-specific phospholipase C Zeta1 (PLCZ1) correlated with low success or fertilization failure after ICSI in patients with normal parameters after standard semen analysis (SA). Couples <43 years with one or two failed or low fertilization ICSI cycles. Standard Semen Analysis (SA) was performed to determine sperm parameters in male partners, whereas females were evaluated for antral follicle counts (AFC), day 3 FSH levels and peak Estradiol (E2) levels. The presence of PLCZ1 in sperm was ascertained using Western blotting and Immunofluorescence (IF) analysis. The ability of sperm to initiate changes in the intracellular concentrations of free calcium ([Ca(2+)]i), which is characteristic of mammalian sperm, was performed after injection of human sperm into mouse eggs loaded with the Ca(2+) sensitive dye fura-2 AM. Male partners of couples with failed or low success ICSI fertilization but with normal SA parameters showed low expression levels of PLCZ1 as determined by western blotting and reduced fluorescent signal during IF studies. In addition, fewer of these males' sperm showed PLCZ1 expression and were able to initiate robust [Ca(2+)]i oscillations upon injection into eggs. Our data suggest that in patients with normal SA parameters but with repeated low fertilization or outright failed fertilization results after ICSI, abnormal PLCZ1 function should be considered as the underlying mechanism responsible for the failure of fertilization.