Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are expressed in human spermatozoa and play a role in sperm function. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression, and the possible involvement of miRNAs in the regulation of HSP gene expression in sperm was investigated in this study. Materials and methods: miRNAs differentially expressed in 8 copies of an oligoasthenozoospermic semen group (OA) were identified by comparison with a normal male semen control group (NC) using microarray technology. Potential targets of HSP proteins among the differentially expressed miRNAs were further investigated. Results: HSP40, HSP60, HSP70, and HSP90 were all found to be expressed in human ejaculated spermatozoa. A total of 32 miRNAs showed significant differences in expression between the OA and NC groups. Ten of these miRNAs encoded potential targets of HSPs. Conclusion: These results show that specific miRNAs are expressed in human ejaculated spermatozoa. These miRNAs appear to be involved in regulating the expression of HSP40, HSP70, and HSP90, and this in turn affects sperm function.

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