Human reproduction (Oxford, England) vol:13 issue:2 pages:372-5
The aim of this experiment was to design a suitable mouse model for male subfertility in which to study the effect of decreased sperm quality on embryo quality in vivo and in vitro. To achieve male subfertility, testes of adult male mice were immersed in water at either 42 degrees C (heated) or 33 degrees C (controls) during 20 min. Twenty-eight days after treatment, all heat stressed males showed a significant decrease in relative testis weight [384.7 mg in controls (286.7-460.6) versus 323 mg in stress heated groups (117.9-405.6); P < 0.001], sperm concentration [3.75 x 10(6)/ml (2.75-7.25) versus 1.00 x 10(6)/ml (0-4.00); P < 0.001] and progressive sperm motility [57.5% (48.0-79.0) versus 42.5% (14.0-66.0); P < 0.001]. Moreover, after mating to heat exposed males, not only the number of pregnant females (20/22 versus 18/30) but also the weight of their embryos [275.4 mg (78.7-339.4) versus 261.8 mg (68.1-339.0); P < 0.001] was significantly lower at 14.5 days post coitum when compared to controls. Neither the number of resorption sites nor the number of viable embryos per pregnant female was significantly different between groups. Also, the in-vitro fertilization rate of oocytes, fertilized by spermatozoa collected from heat stressed males, was significantly lower (44.9%; P < 0.0001) when compared to controls (65.1%; P < 0.0001). In conclusion, the results of this study suggest that male subfertility induced by acute scrotal heating may result in impaired sperm quality, reduced embryo weight in vivo and decreased fertilization rate in vitro.