rs189037 a functional variant in ATM gene promoter is associated with idiopathic nonobstructive azoospermia

Our case–control study, involving 229 idiopathic nonobstructive azoospermia (INOA) patients and 236 fertile male controls, indicates that rs189037(G>A) in ATM gene increases INOA risk, possibly through affecting ATM expression.


Zhongxiang Li, M.D., Jianmin Yu, M.Sc., Tao Zhang, Ph.D., Hongchao Li, M.Sc., Ya Ni, M.Sc.

Volume 100, Issue 6, Pages 1536-1541.e1, December 2013



To investigate the relationship between a functional variant rs189037(G>A) in ATM promoter and idiopathic nonobstructive azoospermia (INOA) in a Chinese population.


Case–control study.


Medical academy and hospital.


Two hundred twenty-nine INOA patients and 236 fertile male controls.



Main Outcome Measure(s):

Genotyping was performed by polymerase chain reaction–based restriction fragment length polymorphism and subsequently confirmed by DNA sequencing. Odds ratio (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated for the risk genotype and allele. Bioinformatic analysis was also performed to predict the biological function of rs189037(G>A).


The AA genotype and A allele at rs189037(G>A) locus were both associated with an increased risk of INOA, with OR 1.90 (95% CI 1.214–3.007) for AA and 1.41 (95% CI 1.112–1.775) for A allele. The heterozygous GA and GA+AA had no relationship with INOA risk, with OR 1.06 (95% CI 0.761–1.472) and 1.28 (95% CI 0.954–1.708), respectively. Meanwhile, stratification by genotype showed that INOA patients with AA had higher FSH level, lower total T level, and smaller testicular size than those patients with GG. Furthermore, bioinformatic analysis predicted that the rs189037(G>A) variant was located in a well-conserved region in ATM promoter and that the transition of allele G to allele A might lead to differential allelic expression of ATM gene via modifying of the DNA-binding ability of transcription factor E2F1.


The genetic variant rs189037(G>A) in ATM gene promoter contributes to an increased risk of INOA in a Chinese population, possibly through affecting the DNA-binding ability of E2F1 and subsequent ATM expression.

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