Aim: The clinical significance of evaluating non-sperm cells, which include spermatogenic and non-spermatogenic cells, commonly known as “round cells” is not well established. This study aimed to assess the clinical significance of distinct identification of immature germ cells (IGCs) in semen, and their relationship with semen parameters and chromosome maturity.
Materials and methods: A prospective laboratory-based study was carried out using 140 semen samples collected from males attending the subfertility clinic. Semen analysis (SA), evaluation of immature cells, and leukocytes were performed according to standard protocols. The percentage of IGCs calculated by the ratio of IGCs to sperm was used in evaluating above relationships.
Results: Immature germ cells were detected in all semen samples with the mean (SD) 26.09 (23.80)%. Significant increase in IGCs was evident in pathozoospermic group (assessed by triple defects; sperm count, motility, and morphology) compared to normozoospermics; mean (SD), 37.75 (29.95)% vs 18.57 (14.95)%, p < 0.01. Analysis of correlations showed that the decrease in concentration, progressive motility, and normal morphology of spermatozoa were associated with increase in percentage of IGCs, and increased IGCs were accompanied with the significant increase in sperm head immaturity. Differentiation between normozoospermia and pathozoospermia was fairly probable or acceptable at the cut-off value of 15.5% of IGCs using ROC curve, with 0.659 sensitivity and 0.281 specificity.
Conclusion: A high count of IGCs in semen is a good indicator for detecting disturbed testicular niche compartments, and those changes may manifest as pathozoospermia.
Clinical significance: Identifying the different etiologies for this specific situation would help in the proper management of those patients.
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