Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 35, Issue 12, pp 2215–2221 | Cite as

Magnetic-activated cell sorting is not completely effective at reducing sperm DNA fragmentation

  • Mercedes González Martínez
  • Pascual Sánchez-Martín
  • Mónica Dorado-Silva
  • José Luís Fernández
  • Estibaliz Girones
  • Stephen D. JohnstonEmail author
  • Jaime Gosálvez
Gamete Biology



To determine whether there is a homogeneous reduction of sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF) in sperm samples recovered from the MACS procedure, compared to spermatozoa in the initial ejaculate (NEAT) and those retained in the column.


This study investigated the relative change in sperm DNA quality (SDF) of neat ejaculates (10 idiopathic infertile and 10 normozoospermic patients) to subpopulations of spermatozoa that had passed through the column (MACS−) and those retained (MACS+) by the annexin-V conjugated microbeads.


While the MACS protocol was capable of reducing the mean proportion of SDF (59.2%; P = 0.000) and sperm with highly degraded DNA (SDD; 65.7%, P = 0.000) in all patients, the reduction was not homogeneous across the patient cohort. A significant positive correlation (r = 0.772, P = 0.000) was apparent between the level of SDF in the NEAT ejaculate and the efficacy of SDF reduction observed in the MACS− fraction.


MACS is capable of reducing the proportion of SDF, especially spermatozoa with a highly degraded DNA molecule. However, this reduction did not preclude the presence of a small subpopulation of spermatozoa with damaged DNA in the MACS− fraction. The MACS protocol was two- to threefold more efficient when the SDF in NEAT ejaculate was equal to or greater than 30%. In 4 of 20 individuals, the level of SDF after MACS resulted in semen for ICSI with a higher or non-significant reduction when compared to SDF observed in the NEAT ejaculate.


Male factor MACS Sperm DNA fragmentation 



The authors want to acknowledge Francisca Arroyo for technical assistance.

Author’s contribution

PS-M, MD-S, JLF, SDJ and JG were involved in the experimental design. MD-S, JLF, and EG processed samples. EG, SDJ, and KG drafted the manuscript. SDJ revised the manuscript. JG conducted the statistical analysis.


This project was partially funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (BFU-2013- 44290-R). The funding body had no involvement in the study.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was approved by the GINEMED Ethics Committee (Protocol Version v-4).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mercedes González Martínez
    • 1
  • Pascual Sánchez-Martín
    • 1
  • Mónica Dorado-Silva
    • 1
  • José Luís Fernández
    • 2
  • Estibaliz Girones
    • 3
  • Stephen D. Johnston
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  • Jaime Gosálvez
    • 3
  1. 1.GinemedSevillaSpain
  2. 2.Genetics UnitINIBIC-Complejo Hospitalario Universitario A Coruña (CHUAC)A CoruñaSpain
  3. 3.Unit of Genetics, Department of BiologyUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain
  4. 4.School of Agriculture and Food ScienceThe University of QueenslandGattonAustralia
  5. 5.School of Agriculture and Food ScienceThe University of QueenslandGattonAustralia

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