OBJECTIVES: In about 50% of male infertility the underlying pathogenesis remains unknown. A recent Japanese study provided evidence that the rs6836703: G>A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) from the ADP-ribosyltransferase 3 (ART3) gene is significantly associated with non-obstructive azoospermia. However, the functional significance of this association is unknown and replication studies in unrelated populations are thus necessary.
DESIGN: In this study, 257 fertile Czech controls of proven paternity and 98 sub-/infertile patients selected according to stringent exclusion / inclusion criteria were genotyped by High Resolution Melting (HRM) of small amplicons.
SETTING: This study was performed at University Hospital Motol - Laboratory of reproductive genetics using routinely analyzed cases.
RESULTS: Significant differences in allele distribution between fertile and sub-/infertile men were found (OR=1.78, 95% CI: 1.17-2.70; p=0.007). Following sub-stratification of cases according to their sperm counts we found that observed differences in allele distributions were increased in oligozoospermic men with sperm counts of <15 million sperm/mL (OR=1.98, 95% CI: 1.28-3.07; p=0.002). This difference was also reflected in genotype distributions between fertile and sub-/infertile men (p=0.008), and fertile versus oligozoospermic men (p=0.004).
CONCLUSIONS: Our study serves as a first replication of the original Japanese report and opens new avenues of research. Compared to the Japanese patient cohort, we provided evidence that the analyzed ART3 variant is associated with quantitative impairment of spermatogenesis.