Our research team is studying how the genetic material in sperm, and factors in semen impact the processes involved in making an embryo, embryo growth and child health. These studies will improve our understanding of male fertility and help us develop new tests and new treatments for male infertility.
Dad’s Health Matters
Folic acid is an essential B vitamin that is important for DNA. The importance of folic acid in female fertility and pre-conception care is well known, but less research has been done in men. Recent studies have shown that folate supplementation improves sperm quality and reduces the risk of birth defects. Our studies, done in collaboration with McGill University, aim to understand the benefits of folic acid supplementation on male fertility, understand lifestyle factors that impact folic acid-related functions, and improve awareness of pre-conception male reproductive health.
The Role of Telomeres in Sperm Function and Embryo Quality
Telomeres are protective elements at the end of DNA that protect the DNA from breaking down. Every time a cell divides, its telomeres shorten by a small amount. Eventually when the telomeres reach a critically short length, the cell will undergo “apoptosis” or cell death because its DNA is no longer protected. Out of all the cells in the body, sperm cells have the longest telomeres, but their role in fertility is largely unknown. In this study, we look at how the length of the telomeres affects sperm quality and embryo quality.
Improving Methods to Isolate Rare Sperm
5-10% of male infertility cases are associated with low or absence of sperm production. Patients with oligozoospermia have a very low number of sperm in their ejaculate. Patients with azoospermia have no sperm present in their ejaculate, however, in 50% of cases, sperm are still being produced in the testis and can be retrieved by performing a microdissection testicular sperm extraction, which involved removal of a small piece of testicular tissue. Because the concentration of sperm in these patients is very low, it is often difficult to locate sperm in ejaculates of oligozoospermic patients and in the testicular tissue of azoospermic patients. We are developing new methods to identify the presence of rare sperm in these patients.
- Swanson GM, Moskovtsev S, Librach CL, Pilsner JR, Goodrich R, Krawetz SA. What human sperm RNA-Seq tells us about the microbiome. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2020 Feb. 37(2):359-368.
- Chan D, Shao X, Dumargne MC, Aarabi M, Simon MM, Kwan T, Bailey JL, Robaire B, Kimmins S, San Gabriel MC, Zini A, Librach CL, Moskovtsev S, Grundberg E, Bourque G, Pastinen T, Trasler JM. Customized MethylC-Capture Sequencing to Evaluate Variation in the Human Sperm DNA Methylome Representative of Altered Folate Metabolism. Environ Health Perspect. 2019 Aug;127(8):87002.
- Zhang Z, Dai C, Huang JY, Wang X, Liu J, Ru C, Pu H, Xie S, Zhang J, Moskovtsev S, Librach CL, Jarvi K, Sun Y. Robotic Immobilization of Motile Sperm for Clinical Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2018 Jun 19. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2018.2848972
- Dai C, Zhang Z, Huang J, Wang X, Ru C, Pu H, Xie S, Zhang J, Moskovtsev S, Librach CL, Jarvi K, Sun Y. Automated Non-Invasive Measurement of Single Sperm's Motility and Morphology. IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2018 May 25. doi: 10.1109/TMI.2018.2840827.
- Kurjanowicz P, Moskovtsev S, Librach CL. Genomic fragmentation and extrachromosomal telomeric repeats impact assessments of telomere length in human spermatozoa. Human Reproduction. 2017 Nov 1;32(11):2170-2177.
- Gat I, Li N, Yasovich N, Antes R, Kuznyetsov V, Zohni K, Weizman NF, Librach CL. Sperm DNA fragmentation index does not correlate with blastocyst euploidy rate in egg donor cycles. Gynecological Endocrinology. 2017 Oct:34(3):212-216.
- Kuznyetsov V, Moskovtsev S, Crowe M, Lulat A, Librach CL. Vitrification of a small number of spermatozoa in normozoospermic and severely oligozoospermic samples. Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine. 2014 Nov 21;61(1):13-17.
- Aarabi M, Balakier H, Bashar S, Moskovtsev SI, Sutovsky P, Librach CL, Oko R. Sperm content of postacrosomal WW binding protein is related to fertilization outcomes in patients undergoing assisted reproductive technology. Fertility and Sterility. 2014 Aug;102(2):440-447.
- Moskovtsev SI, Librach CL Methods of sperm vitality assessment: Spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis. In: Methods and Protocols. (United States); 2014
- Dar S, Grover S, Moskovtsev SI, Swanson S, Baratz A, Librach CL. IVF/ICSI outcome in patients with a markedly high DNA fragmentation index (DFI>50%). Fertility and Sterility. 2013 Jul 1;100(1):75-80
- Behrouzi B, Kenigsberg S, Alladin N, Swanson S, Zicherman J, Hong S, Moskovtsev S, Librach CL. Evaluation of potential protein biomarkers in patients with high sperm DNA damage. Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine. 2013 May 2;59(3):153-163
- Moskovtsev SI, Librach CL. Methods of sperm vitality assessment. Methods in Molecular Biology. 2013;927:13-19
- Firestone R, Esfandiari N, Moskovtsev SI, Burstein E, Videna GT, Librach CL, Bentov Y, Casper RF. The effects of low-level laser light exposure on sperm motion characteristics and DNA Damage. Journal of Andrology. 2012 Jul 14;33(3):469-473
- Alladin N, Moskovtsev SI, Russell H, Kenigsberg S, Lulat A, Librach CL. Three-dimensional image analysis of the chromocentre in motile and immotile human sperm. Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine. 2012 Jun 1;59(3):145-152
- Moskovtsev S.I., Alladin N., Lo K.C., Jarvi K., Mullen J. B. M., Librach CL. A comparison of ejaculated and testicular spermatozoa aneuploidy rates in patients with high sperm DNA damage. Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine. 2012 Jun;58(3):142-8
- Moskovtsev SI, Lulat AG, Librach CL. Cryopreservation of human spermatozoa by vitrification vs. slow freezing: Canadian Experience, Chapter 3. In: Cryopreservation Book 1. InTech - Open Access Publisher; 2012. p. 77-100
- Zhang Z, Dai C, Shan G, Chen X, Liu H, Abdalla K, Kuznyetsova I, Moskovtsev S, Huang X, Librach CL, Jarvi K, Sun Y. Quantitative selection of single human sperm with high DNA integrity for intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Fertil Steril. 2021 Jul 13;S0015-0282(21)00510-0.
- Lambrot R, Chan D, Shao X, Aarabi M, Kwan T, Bourque G, Moskovtsev S, Librach CL, Trasler J, Dumeaux V, Kimmins S. Whole-genome sequencing of H3K4me3 and DNA methylation in human sperm reveals regions of overlap linked to fertility and development. Cell Reports. 2021 Jul 20;36(3):109418.
- Dai C, Zhang Z, Shan G, Chu L, Huang Z, Moskovstev S, Librach C, Jarvi K, Sun Y. Advances in sperm analysis: techniques, discoveries and applications. Nature Reviews Urology. 2021 Jun; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41585-021-00472-2
- Dai C, Zhang Z, Jahangiri S, Shan G, Moskovstev S, Librach CL, Jarvi K, Sun Y. Automated Motility and Morphology Measurement of Live Spermatozoa. Andrology. 2021 Mar;00(0):1–9.DOI: 10.1111/andr.13002.
- Moskovtsev SI, Dviri M, Librach CL. Methods to Select Ejaculated, Epididymal and Testicular Spermatozoa for Assisted Conception. Part of “Comprehensive Guide to Modern Andrology”, Cambridge University. 2021 Feb
- Gat I, Tang K, Quach K, Kuznyotsov V, Antes R, Zohni K, Felice M, Librach CL. Sperm DNA fragmentation index does not correlate with blastocyst aneuploidy or morphological grading. PLoS ONE. 2017 Jun 7;12(6):e0179002.
- Jodar M, Sendler E, Moskovtsev SI, Librach CL, Goodrich R, Swanson S, Hauser R, Diamond MP, Krawetz SA. Absence of sperm RNA elements correlates with idiopathic male infertility. Science Translational Medicine. 2015 Jul 8;7(295):295re6.