In conventional in vitro fertilization (IVF), complete failure of fertilization occurs in 5% to 15% of treatments. Although the causes may be unclear, sperm defects appear to be the major contributor. However, a convincing test is not yet available that can predict the risk of fertilization failure. In this study, we found that germinal angiotensin-converting enzyme (gACE) (also called testicular ACE) was undetectable in sperm from patients who had total fertilization failure (TFF) and lower fertilization rates (LFRs) by IVF based on Western blot and indirect immunofluorescence analyses. Additionally, almost all of the patients without gACE on sperm (23 of 25) manifested a TT genotype of the rs4316 single-nucleotide polymorphism of ACE. Overall, our results indicate that the absence of gACE expression is responsible for TFF and LFRs by IVF. The rs4316 polymorphism of ACE might be associated with infertility in those patients. We conclude that sperm lacking gACE may be recognized before commencing IVF and that the patients may be directed instead to consider intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
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Vol. 90 • No. 6