Epigenetic dynamics and interplay during spermatogenesis and embryogenesis: implications for male fertility and offspring health

Shao-Qin Ge, Sheng-Li Lin, Zheng-Hui Zhao and Qing-Yuan Sun _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:53804-53818. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17479

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Shao-Qin Ge1,2,3,4, Sheng-Li Lin5, Zheng-Hui Zhao6,7 and Qing-Yuan Sun6,7

1 Hebei University Health Science Center, Baoding, China

2 Institute for Reproductive Medicine of Hebei University, Baoding, China

3 Center for Reproductive Medicine of Affiliated Hospital of Hebei University, Baoding, China

4 Hebei Research Institute for Family Planning, Shijiazhuang, China

5 The Center for Reproductive Medicine of Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing, China

6 State Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

7 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Correspondence to:

Qing-Yuan Sun, email:

Keywords: epigenetic modifications, intergenerational inheritance, spermatogenesis, embryogenesis, reproductive diseases

Received: March 12, 2017 Accepted: April 14, 2017 Published: April 27, 2017


Mapping epigenetic modifications and identifying their roles in the regulation of spermatogenesis and embryogenesis are essential for gaining fundamental medical understandings and for clinical applications. More and more evidence has shown that specific epigenetic modifications are established during spermatogenesis, which will be transferred into oocyte via fertilisation, and play an important role in the early embryo development. Defects in epigenetic patterns may increase the risk of abnormal spermatogenesis, fertilisation failure, early embryogenesis abnormality and several other complications during pregnancy. This review mainly discusses the relationship between altered epigenetic profiles and reproductive diseases, highlighting how epigenetic defects affect the quality of sperm and embryo.

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