Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 11, Issue 8, pp 395–400 | Cite as

Selective capacity of glass-wool filtration for the separation of human spermatozoa with condensed chromatin: A possible therapeutic modality for male-factor cases?

  • Ralf R. Henkel
  • Daniel R. Franken
  • Carl J. Lombard
  • Wolf-Bernhard Schill
Clinical Assisted Reproduction



The aim of this study was to evaluate chromatin condensation of human spermatozoa following swim-up compared to glass-wool separation. Semen aliquots from men attending an andrological outpatient clinic were processed by means of a swim-up procedure and glass-wool filtration. Chromatin condensation was recorded using aniline blue staining and results were reported according to color intensity of stained sperm heads. Morphometric measurements of sperm heads were performed on stained sperm samples.


Glass-wool filtration resulted (i) in a significantly higher total motile sperm count (P<0.0005) compared to swim-up and (ii) in a significantly higher percentage of normal chromatin-condensed spermatozoa compared to the ejaculate (P<0.01).


In contrast, comparing swim-up to the ejaculate, the percentage of matured nuclei (unstained spermatozoa) retrieved following swim-up was significantly lower (P<0.005). Glass-wool filtration separates human spermatozoa according to motility and size of the sperm head. The size of the sperm head closely correlated with the chromatin condensation quality.

Key words

sperm separation glass-wool filtration swim-up chromatin condensation aniline blue staining 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralf R. Henkel
    • 1
  • Daniel R. Franken
    • 2
  • Carl J. Lombard
    • 3
  • Wolf-Bernhard Schill
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Dermatology and AndrologyJustus-Liebig UniversityGiessenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Reproductive Biology UnitTygerberg HospitalSouth Africa
  3. 3.Institute of BiostatisticsMedical Research CouncilParowSouth Africa

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