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Altered microRNA profiles of testicular biopsies from patients with nonobstructive azoospermia


1 Department of Urology, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing 100191, China
2 Department of Andrology, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing 100191, China
3 Department of Human Sperm Bank, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing 100191, China
4 Department of Reproductive Medicine Center, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing 100191, China

Correspondence Address:
Hao-Cheng Lin,
Department of Urology; Department of Andrology, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing 100191
China
Hui Jiang,
Department of Urology; Department of Andrology; Department of Human Sperm Bank, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing 100191
China
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aja.aja_35_19

PMID: 31134916

Many studies have shown that microRNAs (miRNAs) play vital roles during the spermatogenesis. However, little is known about the altered miRNA profiles of testicular tissues in nonobstructive azoospermia (NOA). Using microarray technology, the miRNA expression profiles of testicular biopsies from patients with NOA and of normal testicular tissues were determined. Bioinformatics analyses were conducted to predict the enriched biological processes and functions of identified miRNAs. The microarray data were validated by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), the results of which were then validated with a larger sample size. Correlations between the miRNA expression levels and clinical characteristics were analyzed. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to evaluate the diagnostic ability of miRNAs for azoospermia. Hierarchical clustering showed that 129 miRNAs were significantly differentially expressed between the NOA and control groups. Bioinformatics analysis indicated that the differentially expressed miRNAs were involved in spermatogenesis, cell cycle, and mitotic prometaphase. In the subsequent qRT-PCR assays, the selected miRNA expression levels were consistent with the microarray results, and similar validated results were obtained with a larger sample size. Some clinical characteristics were significantly associated with the expression of certain miRNAs. In particular, we identified a combination of two miRNAs (miR-10b-3p and miR-34b-5p) that could serve as a predictive biomarker of azoospermia. This study provides altered miRNA profiles of testicular biopsies from NOA patients and examines the roles of miRNAs in spermatogenesis. These profiles may be useful for predicting and diagnosing the presence of testicular sperm in individuals with azoospermia.


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    -  Zhang HT
    -  Zhang Z
    -  Hong K
    -  Tang WH
    -  Liu DF
    -  Mao JM
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    -  Lin HC
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