CRU326 project provides molecular insights into male infertility

Dr. Sara Di Persio, PD Dr. Nina Neuhaus and Dr. Sandra Laurentino from the CeRA, and Tobias Tekath from the IMI | Foto: WWU – L. Jeremies

CRU326 2020+ project P6 team Nina Neuhaus, Sandra Laurentino, Sara Di Persio, Lara Siebert-Kuss, and collaborating partners, has unveiled molecular and cellular changes underlying male infertility.


Taking advantage of single cell RNA sequencing, proteome analyses, and in-depth histological examination of human testicular tissues, the scientists identified mechanisms associated with spermatogenic failure and gained novel insights regarding the spermatogonial stem cell compartment. For the very first time, their findings link morphologically-defined with transcriptional profile-defined subpopulations of spermatogonia. The data have now been published in the journal Cell Reports Medicine.


In close collaboration with Tobias Tekath from the Institute of Medical Informatics (IMI) and the Meyer-zu-Hörste Lab, around 13 000 single cells originating from the biopsies of cryptozoospermic men attending the Centre of Reproductive Medicine and Andrology in Münster, were analysed and compared to 15 000 cells from men with complete spermatogenesis. Cryptozoospermia is characterised by a severely reduced sperm count with less than 100 000 spermatozoa per ml. For affected individuals natural conception is almost impossible, necessitating the help of assisted reproduction techniques. 'We were able to observe a change in the reserve stem cell pool of the testis, indicating a constant recruitment of reserve cells probably leading to a progressive qualitative and quantitative reduction of sperm formation', says Sandra Laurentino. Nina Neuhaus adds that 'by revealing the dynamics behind the regulation of the spermatogonial stem cell system, diagnostics and counselling of infertility cases are going to be improved.'


We are looking forward to the next highlight of this project! Congratulation to the team. For more information, please also see the news portal of the Medical Faculty or take a look at this article.