Reduced expression of DNMT3B in the germ cells of patients with bilateral spermatogenic arrest does not lead to changes in the global methylation status

S. K. Adiga, J. Ehmcke, S. Schlatt, S. Kliesch, B. Westernströer, C. M. Luetjens, J. Wistuba, J. Gromoll

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DNA methylation events during spermatogenesis have important implications for gamete integrity and transmission of epigenetic information to the next generation. However, the role of DNA methyltransferases in the disorders of human spermatogenesis has not been elucidated. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the expression of DNMT3B, crucial for full germ cell methylation, in testicular germ cells of patients with spermatogenic arrest and to determine whether or not there is an association with the global methylation status. In order to determine the DNMTs expression status at various stages of spermatogenesis, immunohistochemical localization was performed on 16 fertile controls having normal spermatogenesis and 11 patients with bilateral spermatogenic arrest. DNMT3B was expressed in most of the germ cell types in both controls and patients with bilateral spermatogenic arrest. The number of DNMT3B positive preleptotene/zygotene cells and pachytene spermatocytes was significantly lower in patients with bilateral arrest. However, evaluation of 5-methylcytosine, a global methylation marker, in the few matured germ cells of these patients did not reveal altered methylation. In conclusion, the global methylation status of germ cells is not affected by spermatogenic defects in spite of aberrant DNMT3B expression indicating the necessity of proper methylation for full spermatogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbergar023
Pages (from-to)545-549
Number of pages5
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 09-2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Embryology
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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