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Picturing Male Infertility: New Technique Sheds Light on Sperm Motility

Chemistry World,  May 5, 2010

German scientists have used a non-invasive technique to provide detailed 3D images of human sperm cells, which could be developed into a high-throughput fertility test.

Low numbers of normal, mobile sperm are associated with male infertility, but there is still very little knowledge about the movement of normal sperm. Current methods used to investigate sperm such as electron microscopy or x-ray imaging, damage the cells and cannot provide both structural and chemical composition information. Now, Bründermann and colleagues at Ruhr University Bochum have used confocal Raman spectroscopy to produce images of the individual sperm.

'Since the sperm count of men around the world has dropped to 50 per cent of what it was more than 50 years ago, there is an urgency to investigate organelles,' says Bründermann.

The team also found that Raman spectroscopy provides a different signal when sperm are damaged so it could be used to distinguish between fertile and infertile sperm. Read more.


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