Ultrastructure of partially decondensed human spermatozoal chromatin Academic Article Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • DNA
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques
  • Premature Birth
  • Specimen Handling


  • Electron microscopy of thin-sectioned fresh human spermatozoa showed that most nuclei contained electron-dense granulated material corresponding to tightly packed chromatin; the chromatin of some nuclei was condensed to a lesser degree and may represent immature spermatozoa. Treatment of the spermatozoa with 1.5% of the detergent Sarkosyl resulted in decapitation, removal of plasma and acrosomal membranes, and variable degrees of nuclear chromatin decondensation. The subsequent addition of 0.02 M dithiothreitol (DTT) produced further chromatin decondensation, revealing the presence of a meshwork of 20- to 30-Å fibers interconnecting cordlike and spherical chromatin bodies about 30-75 nm in diameter. The thinner fibers approximate the diameter of DNA molecules. Trypsin digestion in the presence of 0.02 M DTT resulted in the conversion of the chromatin bodies into fibrous structures that were continuous with the fibrous network interlacing the chromatin bodies. Decondensed spermatozoal nuclei also possessed non-membrane-bounded "vacuoles" which frequently contained 20- to 30-Å fibers and other thicker fibrillar structures. © 1978 Academic Press, Inc.

publication date

  • January 1978



  • Academic Article


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/S0022-5320(78)80073-2

PubMed ID

  • 671582

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 178

end page

  • 87


  • 63


  • 2