Susceptibility locus for non-obstructive azoospermia is localized within the HLA-DR/DQ subregion: Primary role of DQB1*0604

Y. Matsuzaka, S. Makino, K. Okamoto, A. Oka, A. Tsujimura, K. Matsumiya, S. Takahara, A. Okuyama, M. Sada, R. Gotoh, T. Nakatani, M. Ota, Y. Katsuyama, G. Tamiya, H. Inoko

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Non-obstructive azoospermia is a mate infertility characterized by no or little sperm in semen as a result of a congenital dysfunction in spermatogenesis. Previous studies have reported a higher prevalence of particular human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antigens in non-obstructive azoospermia. As the expression of the RING3 gene located in the HLA class II region was predominant in the testis, mainly around spermatids and pachytene spermatocytes, it is tempting to speculate that RING3 is one of the strong candidate genes responsible for the pathogenesis of the disease. In this study, the genetic polymorphism in the RING3 gene was investigated by the direct sequencing technique. As a result, a total of 14 single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified. Among them, six were localized in the coding region but none of them was accompanied by an amino-acid substitution. No significant difference in the allelic distribution at these 14 polymorphic sites was observed between the patients and healthy controls, suggesting that the susceptible gene for non-obstructive azoospermia is not the RING3 gene. Then, in order to map the susceptibility locus for non-obstructive azoospermia precisely within the HLA region, 11 polymorphic microsatellite markers distributed from the SACM2L gene just outside the HLA class II region (187kb telomeric of the DPB1 gene) to the OTF3 gene in the HLA class I region were subjected to association analysis in the patients. Statistical analysis of distribution in the allelic frequency at each microsatellite locus demonstrated that the pathogenic gene for non-obstructive azoospermia is located within the HLA-DR/DQ subregion. In fact, DRB1*1302 and DQB1*0604 were found to be strongly associated with non-obstructive azoospermia by polymerase chain reaction-based DNA typing. Further, haplotype analysis suggested that the DQB1*0604 allele may play a decisive rote in the pathogenesis of non-obstructive azoospermia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
JournalTissue Antigens
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Jul 1


  • HLA
  • Microsatellite marker
  • Non-obstructive azoospermia
  • RING3 gene


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