OBJECTIVE: To examine whether similar levels of phospholipase C zeta (PLC-ζ) protein are present in sperm from men whose ejaculates resulted in normal oocyte activation, and to examine whether a predominant pattern of PLC-ζ localization is linked to normal oocyte activation ability. DESIGN: Laboratory study. SETTING: University laboratory. PATIENT(S): Control subjects (men with proven oocyte activation capacity; n = 16) and men whose sperm resulted in recurrent intracytoplasmic sperm injection failure (oocyte activation deficient [OAD]; n = 5). INTERVENTION(S): Quantitative immunofluorescent analysis of PLC-ζ protein in human sperm. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Total levels of PLC-ζ fluorescence, proportions of sperm exhibiting PLC-ζ immunoreactivity, and proportions of PLC-ζ localization patterns in sperm from control and OAD men. RESULT(S): Sperm from control subjects presented a significantly higher proportion of sperm exhibiting PLC-ζ immunofluorescence compared with infertile men diagnosed with OAD (82.6% and 27.4%, respectively). Total levels of PLC-ζ in sperm from individual control and OAD patients exhibited significant variance, with sperm from 10 out of 16 (62.5%) exhibiting levels similar to OAD samples. Predominant PLC-ζ localization patterns varied between control and OAD samples with no predictable or consistent pattern. CONCLUSION(S): The results indicate that sperm from control men exhibited significant variance in total levels of PLC-ζ protein, as well as significant variance in the predominant localization pattern. Such variance may hinder the diagnostic application of quantitative PLC-ζ immunofluorescent analysis.

Original publication




Journal article


Fertil Steril

Publication Date





107 - 117


Adult, Female, Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Humans, Infertility, Male, Male, Middle Aged, Phosphoinositide Phospholipase C, Reproductive Techniques, Assisted, Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic, Sperm-Ovum Interactions, Spermatozoa