Sperm ultramorphology as a pathophysiological indicator of spermatogenesis in males suffering from varicocele

M. Reichart, F. Eltes, Y. Soffer, E. Zigenreich, L. Yogev, B. Bartoov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Varicocele of spermatic veins is considered to be one of the major causes of male infertility associated with reduction of sperm quality. The pathophysiology of this condition is not yet completely understood. The aim of this study was to shed light on the pathophysiology of varicocele by identifying semen parameters, especially sperm ultramorphology, which improve following high ligation of the spermatic vein. Seventy-five males with diagnosed varicocele were included in this study. Semen parameters were assessed prospectively using light microscopy, semen biochemistry and sperm quantitative ultramorphological analysis, before high ligation and 3 - 9 months after high ligation. The control group consisted of twenty-five untreated varicocele patients who underwent two semen examinations within 3 - 9 months. No statistical difference in any of the examined variables was found between the two examinations in the control group. The treated patients exhibited a significant improvement in sperm density, progressive motility, percentage of normally formed spermatozoa, agenesis of sperm acrosome, chromatin condensation and incidence of amorphous heads compared with the pretreatment condition (P≤0.01). In contradiction, no significant improvement was observed following treatment in any of the sperm tail subcellular organelles. It is concluded that varicocele may cause deleterious alterations in early spermatid head differentiation during spermiogenesis and that varicocele patients with a high incidence of sperm acrosome and nucleus malformations are appropriate candidates for varicocele correction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2000


  • High ligation
  • Semen analysis
  • Sperm ultramorphology


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