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BACKGROUND: Failed fertilization post-ICSI has been mainly attributed to the sperm's inability to induce oocyte activation. Phospholipase C zeta (PLCζ) is considered to be one of the factors for the induction of oocyte activation. The aim of this study was to quantitatively assess the expression of PLCζ in globozoospermic men or those with previously low or failed fertilization in comparison with fertile men or those with high fertilization potential. In addition, the relationship between expression of PLCζ and that of other sperm markers was evaluated. METHODS: Real-time PCR was carried out to evaluate relative expression of PLCζ mRNA. Chromatin maturity and acrosin activity were assessed by CMA3 staining and a colorimetric method. RESULTS: The expression of PLCζ was significantly lower in globozoospermic men (P< 0.01, n= 8) or individuals with previously low or failed fertilization (P< 0.01, n= 36) in comparison to fertile men (n= 24). In addition, a significant difference was observed between globozoospermic (P< 0.01) and individuals with previously low or failed fertilization (P= 0.003) in comparison to high fertilization individuals (n= 17). Expression of PLCζ was not correlated with either chromatin maturity or acrosin activity. However, a significant correlation was observed between the percentage of fertilization and relative expression of PLCζ (r= 0.4, P< 0.01). CONCLUSION: In this study, for the first time, we have shown that assessment of relative expression of PLCζ may provide a useful marker for the ability of sperm to induce oocyte activation after ICSI.

Original publication




Journal article


Hum Reprod

Publication Date





2950 - 2956


Acrosin, Adult, Chromatin, Chromomycin A3, Fertility, Fertilization, Humans, Infertility, Male, Male, Oocytes, Phosphoinositide Phospholipase C, Protamines, Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction, Semen, Spermatozoa