Several reports in the literature describe men with infertility resulting from abnormal sperm head shape or decapitation defects of their spermatozoa. These defects are similar to those shown for the spermatozoa from azh (abnormal spermatozoon head shape) mice. The present study examines the efficiency and effects of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in successive generations of azh mice generated with this method. Three successive generations of azh mice were produced with ICSI. In all three ICSI series, more than 80% of 2-cell embryos were obtained, and more than 35% of embryos transferred gave rise to normal live offspring. In addition, ICSI was used to cross homozygous azh/azh males with homozygous azh/azh females, and live offspring were obtained. The ICSI-derived males were tested for their fecundity and abnormalities of sperm morphology. Spermatozoa from ICSI-derived azh/ males did not show any impairment of fecundity in in vitro fertilization. These spermatozoa successfully fertilized oocytes from both C57BL/6 and B6D2F1 females, with fertilization rates ranging from 70%– 92%. The proportion of morphologically normal spermatozoa was similar in azh/ males from three successive generations of ICSI (57.8%, 54.8%, and 49.0%, respectively), and no differences were noted when comparing ICSI-derived males with males derived by mating (57.6%) and with wild-type controls (61.6%). Detailed analysis differentiating between specific types of anomalies of sperm morphology did not reveal significant differences among the examined groups. The results of the present study demonstrate that ICSI does not enhance the azh mutation phenotype in the offspring and brings no risks when applied continuously. Moreover, serial (successive generations) ICSI is highly efficient in maintaining valuable mice with fertility problems.
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