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Subclinical hypothyroidism and sperm DNA fragmentation: a cross-sectional study of 5,401 men seeking infertility care

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2022 Jul 30:dgac458. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgac458. Online ahead of print.


CONTEXT: Our previous study showed that paternal subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) had a detrimental effect on the clinical outcomes of assisted reproductive technologies. However, it remains to be determined whether paternal SCH affects sperm DNA integrity.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between SCH and sperm DNA fragmentation in men seeking infertility care.

METHODS: This cross-sectional study included 4,983 men with euthyroidism and 418 men with SCH seeking infertility treatment in a tertiary care academic medical center between January 2017 and December 2021. The outcome measures were the absolute DNA fragmentation index (DFI) and the risk of abnormal DFI (defined as a DFI of ≥25% or ≥30%).

RESULTS: The mean (standard deviation) age of men with euthyroidism and men with SCH was 34.20 (5.97) and 35.35 (6.48) years, respectively (p < 0.001). The difference in DFI was not statistically significant [adjusted mean: 19.7% vs. 18.9% in the SCH and euthyroidism groups, respectively, p = 0.07] after confounder adjustment. A DFI of ≥25% was significantly more frequent in men with SCH (20.57%) than in men with euthyroidism (14.49%) after confounder adjustment [odds ratio (OR) (95% CI): 1.43 (1.09-1.88)]. A DFI of ≥30% was also significantly more common in men with SCH (11.72%) than in men with euthyroidism (6.74%) [OR (95%CI): 1.84 (1.34-2.52)]. In addition, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration was significantly associated with an increased risk of having a DFI of ≥25% (p < 0.001) or ≥30% (p = 0.011).

CONCLUSIONS: SCH was significantly associated with an increased risk of an abnormal DFI.

PMID:35906991 | DOI:10.1210/clinem/dgac458

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