Ultrastructural morphology of sperm from human globozoospermia

Giuseppe Ricci, Laura Andolfi, Giuliano Zabucchi, Stefania Luppi, Rita Boscolo, Monica Martinelli, Marina Zweyer, Elisa Trevisan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Globozoospermia is a rare disorder characterized by the presence of sperm with round head, lacking acrosome. Coiling tail around the nucleus has been reported since early human studies, but no specific significance has conferred it. By contrast, studies on animal models suggest that coiling tail around the nucleus could represent a crucial step of defective spermatogenesis, resulting in round-headed sperm. No observations, so far, support the transfer of this hypothesis to human globozoospermia. The purpose of this work was to compare ultrastructural morphology of human and mouse model globozoospermic sperm. Sperm have been investigated by using scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The images that we obtained show significant similarities to those described in GOPC knockout mice, an animal model of globozoospermia. By using this model as reference, we were able to identify the probable steps of the tail coiling process in human globozoospermia. Although we have no evidence that there is the same pathophysiology in man and knocked-out mouse, the similarities between these ultrastructural observations in human and those in the experimental model are very suggestive. This is the first demonstration of the existence of relevant morphological homologies between the tail coiling in animal model and human globozoospermia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number798754
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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    Ricci, G., Andolfi, L., Zabucchi, G., Luppi, S., Boscolo, R., Martinelli, M., Zweyer, M., & Trevisan, E. (2015). Ultrastructural morphology of sperm from human globozoospermia. BioMed Research International, 2015, [798754]. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/798754