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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A sequential analysis of the effect of progesterone on specific sperm functions crucial to fertilization in vitro in infertile patients.

The objective of these studies was to evaluate the modulatory effect(s) of progesterone on sperm functions crucial to fertilization in infertile men with abnormal sperm parameters. A prospective, controlled study applying a sequential diagnostic analysis capable of identifying specific dysfunctions of the male gamete was performed. Patients (n = 14) were allocated to the study group if they had a history of infertility of > 1 year duration and after semen evaluation showed teratozoospermia (< 14% normal sperm forms as diagnosed by strict criteria) or terato-asthenozoospermia (< 50% progressive motility). After swim-up separation of the motile sperm fraction, the following functions were assessed with and without previous exposure to progesterone (1.0 micrograms/ml): acrosome reaction (using Pisum sativum agglutinin), hyperactivated motility (using a computerized semen analyser), sperm-zona pellucida binding (in the hemizona assay), sperm-zona pellucida penetration (in a sperm-zona penetration assay), and sperm-oocyte penetration (using the hamster zona-free oocyte/sperm penetration assay). Progesterone did not affect the percentage of acrosome-reacted spermatozoa after 1 or 3 h of incubation. Hyperactivated motility was significantly enhanced by progesterone after 1 h (12 +/- 4 versus 6 +/- 2% in controls; P < 0.02). Although progesterone did not affect sperm-zona binding, it significantly enhanced both sperm-zona pellucida penetration (27 versus 12% in controls; P = 0.03) and sperm-oocyte penetration (15 versus 8% in controls; P < 0.05). Because those sperm functions enhanced by progesterone are crucial to fertilization, the steroid may have value in the treatment of some male-factor patients undergoing assisted reproductive therapy.[1]


  1. A sequential analysis of the effect of progesterone on specific sperm functions crucial to fertilization in vitro in infertile patients. Oehninger, S., Sueldo, C., Lanzendorf, S., Mahony, M., Burkman, L.J., Alexander, N.J., Hodgen, G.D. Hum. Reprod. (1994) [Pubmed]
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