Underestimated Aspects in Male Infertility: Epigenetics is A New Approach in Men with Obesity or Diabetes: A Review

Document Type : Review Article


1 Department of Reproductive Biology, Faculty of Basic Sciences and Advanced Medical Technologies, Royan Institute, ACECR, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Embryology, Reproductive Biomedicine Research Center, Royan Institute for Reproductive Biomedicine, ACECR, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Andrology, Reproductive Biomedicine Research Center, Royan Institute for Reproductive Biomedicine, ACECR, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Embryology, Reproduction Biomedicine Research Center, Royan Institute for Reproductive Biomedicine, ACER, Tehran, Iran

5 Department of Poultry Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


Infertility is a complex multifactorial problem that affects about 7% of men and 15% of couples worldwide. Many molecular mechanisms involved in male infertility. Destructive effects of infertility on the next generations are not well understood. Approximately 60-75% of male infertility cases have idiopathic causes, and there is a need for additional investigations other than routine examinations. Molecular factors that surround DNA, which are mitotically stable and independently regulate genome activity of DNA sequences, are known as epigenetics. The known epigenetic mechanisms are DNA methylation, histone modifications and non-coding RNAs. Prevalence of metabolic diseases has been increased dramatically because of changes in lifestyle and the current levels of inactivity. Metabolic disorders, such
as obesity and diabetes, are prevalent reasons for male infertility; despite the association between metabolic diseases and male infertility, few studies have been conducted on the effects of epigenetic alterations associated with these diseases and sperm abnormalities. Diabetes can affect the reproductive system and testicular function at multiple levels;
however, there are very few molecular and epigenetic studies related to sperm from males with diabetes. On the other hand, obesity has similar conditions, while male obesity is linked to notable alterations in the sperm molecular architecture affecting both function and embryo quality. Therefore, in this review article, we presented new and developed technologies to study different patterns of epigenetic changes, and explained the exact mechanisms of epigenetic changes linked to metabolic diseases and their relationship with male infertility.


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