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The Eugin group, consisting of Eugin, CIRH and Biogenesi, presented a total of 11 studies at the ESHRE Congress, –held in Helsinki (Finland) from 3 to 6 July.

The sperm tail may determine semen quality

The annual Congress of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) has been the setting chosen by the Eugin group and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) to present new collaborative research. The study describes, for the first time, the presence of alterations in the tail of the human sperm, the so called flagellum, which will help indicate the quality of sperm and improve the diagnosis of infertility.


The work, which began in 2014 in the basic research lab that Eugin Clinic has in the Barcelona Science Park (PCB) as well as in the research group led by Isabelle Vernos at the CRG, could lead to improved diagnosis in cases of male infertility, a situation to be found in more than half of couples with fertility problems. The first author of the study, the pre-doctoral researcher Farners Amargant, is taking part in an industrial Ph.D., which is an initiative by the Generalitat de Catalunya that aims to attract talent, train scientists and contribute to the competitiveness and internationalization of the corporate fabric.

The alterations that occur in the sperm tail had previously been detected in other animal species such as flies or sea urchins, but it is the first time they have been described in humans. “In other species it has been seen that when there are these alterations the sperm have motility problems and their functioning is not correct,” says Dr. Isabelle Vernos, ICREA research professor and group leader at the CRG as well as coauthor of the paper. “For this reason, the findings are promising: the end of the sperm tail could present a new place to look for indicators that give us information about semen quality.”

The work was made possible by means of the molecular observation of sperm tubulin. It is a proteinaceous substance, which is made up of small hollow narrow tubes and is present in the cells and responsible for their motility. “It is clear that the sperm tail is critical in defining the quality of sperm movement, but by knowing its alterations, we can go further and have information on the health status of all the sperm,” says Dr. Rita Vassena, scientific director of Eugin Group and co-author of the paper.


Eugin, a benchmark for research into assisted reproduction

Eugin’s basic research laboratory forms an integral part of the Barcelona Science Park (PCB). In these cutting-edge facilities their team of specialists carries out state-of-the-art research aimed at delving ever more deeply into our knowledge of human fertility. It also coordinates scientific projects with working groups from research centers like the Center for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona or European universities such as the University of Barcelona, University Pompeu Fabra, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the the University of Milan, University of Sassari and Cardiff University.

Eugin’s scientific director, Dr. Rita Vassena, is a member of the Executive Committee of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE, its acronym in English), which counts among its founders the father of assisted reproduction, the late Nobel laureate Robert Edwards, as well as including thousands of specialists from all over the world.