Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Y chromosome and male infertility: Update, 2006
Male factor infertility accounts for about half the cases of couple infertility and in around 50% of cases its etiology remains unknown. Molecular genetic techniques have unveiled a number of etiopathogenetic factors, including microdeletions of the Yq. Y chromosome microdeletions removing the AZoospermia Factor (AZF) regions are the most frequent molecular genetic causes of oligo/azoospermia. The intense effort of many laboratories contributed to a better understanding of the clinical significance of this genetic anomaly and to the identification of fertility candidate genes in the AZF regions. Important progress has been made on the structure of the Y chromosome and the mechanism of deletion. Studies aimed to define a predisposing genetic background for Yq deletions were not successful, perhaps due to the low number of patients analyzed so far. The screening for Yq deletions became a routine diagnostic test that provides an etiology for spermatogenic disturbances, and assess in the prognosis for testicular sperm retrieval according to the type of deletion. Assisted reproductive techniques represent an efficient symptomatic therapy for men bearing Y microdeletions, however, this genetic defect is transmitted to the male offsprings, affecting their fertility. Future studies should focus on understanding the biological function of AZF genes which is an essential step for the development of more appropriate and knowledge-based therapies.