Intracytoplasmic Morphologically Selected Sperm Injection

  • Pierre Vanderzwalmen
  • Romain Imbert
  • David Jareno Martinez
  • Astrid Stecher
  • Anne Vansteenbrugge
  • Sabine Vanderzwalmen
  • Barbara Wirleitner
  • Maximillian Murtinger


Intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection (IMSI) provides the opportunity to deselect morphologically abnormal spermatozoa presenting large vacuole-like structures (VLS), decreasing the risk of birth defects. According to the growing body of literature, VLS most likely reflect anomalies of sperm chromatin packaging rendering the DNA, at least in part, more vulnerable to reactive oxygen species (ROS). The importance of repackaging of the haploid genome before delivery in the oocyte is a crucial step. It is reported that VLS are related to alteration in the methylation pattern (hypermethylation) secondary to chromatin condensation failures. All these potential epigenetic pattern disturbances may represent the basis of numerous disorders in the offspring as well as for the future generation.

Debates and skepticism still exist about the efficiency of IMSI, mainly due to a low number of controlled randomized studies published yet. IMSI is indeed important: in women with advanced maternal age, possibly due to reduced correction and reparation capacity of spermatozoon defects in presence of aging oocyte, and in patients with failure of embryo development to the blastocyst stage in a previous in vitro fertilization (IVF) attempt.


Spermatozoa Vacuoles Chromatin condensation Epigenetic Hypermethylation Oocyte aging 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre Vanderzwalmen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Romain Imbert
    • 1
  • David Jareno Martinez
    • 1
  • Astrid Stecher
    • 2
  • Anne Vansteenbrugge
    • 1
  • Sabine Vanderzwalmen
    • 1
  • Barbara Wirleitner
    • 3
  • Maximillian Murtinger
    • 2
  1. 1.IVF Center CHIRECBraine l’Alleud-WaterlooBelgium
  2. 2.NextClinic IVF Centers. Prof. ZechBregenzAustria
  3. 3.IVF Centers Prof. Zech, IVF LaboratoryBregenzAustria

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