MicroRNA expression profiles in human testicular tissues of infertile men with different histopathologic patterns

Microarray and real-time polymerase chain reaction studies reveal that microRNAs are differentially expressed in normal versus different testicular histopathologic patterns and have therapeutic potential for the development of biomarkers for male infertility.


Masood Abu-Halima, M.Sc., Christina Backes, Ph.D., Petra Leidinger, Ph.D., Andreas Keller, Ph.D., Abdel Monem Lubbad, M.D., Mohamad Hammadeh, Prof. Dr., Eckart Meese, Prof. Dr.

Volume 101, Issue 1, Pages 78-86.e2, January 2014



To investigate the expression profiles of microRNA (miRNA) in human testes showing different histopathological patterns.


Microarray with quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) validation.


University research and clinical institutes.


Azoospermic men who underwent testicular biopsy for sperm recovery in preparation for intracytoplasmic sperm injection.


Testicular biopsies.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Statistically significantly altered miRNA expression profiles among the testicular histopathologic patterns groups compared with normal pattern group.


According to miRNA array, a total of 197, 68, and 46 miRNAs were found to be differentially expressed when comparing the samples from Sertoli cell only (SCO), mixed atrophy (MA), and germ cell arrest (GA) groups, respectively, with normal spermatogenesis (N). Five miRNAs have been validated using qRT-PCR, and the results were consistent with miRNA array analysis. Bioinformatics analysis showed that five microRNAs (hsa-mir-34b*, hsa-mir-34b, hsa-mir-34c-5p, hsa-mir-449a, and hsa-mir-449b*) were involved in apoptosis, cell proliferation, and differentiation. Notably, potential target genes of these five miRNAs were involved in the spermatogenesis process.


This study provides new insights into specific miRNAs that are expressed in infertile men with different histopathologic patterns, suggesting a role of miRNAs in regulating male germ and somatic cells and that their alteration is associated with reproductive abnormalities.

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(13)03059-8/fulltext

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