P8: The (patho)physiology of ion channels in human sperm
Timo Strünker, Centre of Reproductive Medicine and Andrology (CeRA) (Homepage)
Christoph Brenker, Centre of Reproductive Medicine and Andrology (CeRA) (Homepage)
Male infertility is often due to defective sperm production, morphology, motility, or combinations thereof. However, a large fraction of infertile patients is normozoospermic, indicating that the infertility rests on a dysfunction of the sperm. The underlying mechanisms are largely unknown, precluding an evidence-based treatment decision.
To fertilise the egg, human sperm fulfil several demanding tasks that are orchestrated by the sperm-specific ion channels CatSper and Slo3. There is a growing body of evidence that, as yet, unexplained sperm dysfunction involves the loss of CatSper and/or Slo3 function. In this research endeavour, by a function-to-gene approach and using novel experimental tools, we investigate CatSper and Slo3 in sperm from patients seeking assisted reproduction. Thereby, we shed light on the mechanisms underlying sperm dysfunction and male infertility, enable evidence-based treatment decisions, and gain novel insights into the physiology and pathophysiology of CatSper and Slo3 in human sperm.
In particular, we want to elucidate how CatSper and Slo3 interplay to control sperm function and, thereby, the fertilisation process.