Differential sperm proteomic profiles according to pregnancy achievement in intracytoplasmic sperm injection cycles: a pilot study

Rivera-Egea, R, Sota, N, Gonzalez-Martin, R, Meseguer, M, Remohi, J, Garrido, N, Dominguez, F,
J Assist Reprod Genet. Apr. 2021 doi: 10.1007/s10815-021-02098-0


PURPOSE: To describe the proteomic profiles in semen samples and define the differences in sperm proteomic profiles among samples that ultimately achieved pregnancy (P) via intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in an oocyte donation program and those that were unsuccessful (NP). METHODS: Prospective, analytical, observational nested case and control study evaluating the proteomic profile of spermatozoa from patients' ejaculates where pregnancies were (group pregnant (P), n= 4) or were not (group non-pregnant (NP), n=4) achieved after ICSI in an oocyte donation program aiming to standardize female factor. Proteins were separated and analyzed by means of SWATH-MS) and compared between P/NP groups to identify sperm biomarkers of fertility/infertility. Proteins are available via ProteomeXchange. RESULTS: We identified and quantified 2228 proteins, with 37 significantly higher in the P group and 16 higher in NP. Enrichment analysis revealed that the increased proteins in P group sperm were related to motility, anaerobic metabolism, and protein biosynthesis functions, while the increased proteins in the NP group were involved in protein biosynthesis, protein folding, aerobic metabolism, and signal transduction, all of which are functions not previously described as influencing sperm success. Some proteins identified (e.g., SLC2A3, or CD81) are located in the cell membrane and thus may be employed to select spermatozoa by magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS). CONCLUSION(S): This work revealed differences in the proteomic profiles of sperm samples successful in achieving pregnancy and those that were not, expanding our understanding of sperm function and infertility-related molecular markers, and enabling the future development of male fertility diagnostic tools and therapies.