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Issue 5, 2019
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Live sperm trap microarray for high throughput imaging and analysis

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There is a growing appreciation and understanding of cell-to-cell variability in biological samples. However, research and clinical practice in male fertility has relied on population, or sample-based characteristics. Single-cell resolution is particularly important given the winner-takes-all nature of both natural and in vitro fertilization: it is the properties of a single cell, not the population, that are passed to the next generation. While there are a range of methods for single cell analysis, arraying a larger number of live sperm has not been possible due to the strong locomotion of the cells. Here we present a 103-trap microarray that traps, aligns and arrays individual live sperm. The method enables high-resolution imaging of the aligned cell head, the application of dye-based DNA and mitochondrial analyses, and the quantification of motility characteristics, such as tail beat. In testing, a 2400-post array trapped ∼400 sperm for individual analyses of tail beating frequency and amplitude, DNA integrity via acridine orange staining, and mitochondrial activity via staining. While literature results are mixed regarding a possible correlation between motility and DNA integrity of sperm at sample-level, results here find no statistical correlation between tail beat characteristics and DNA integrity at the cell-level. The trap array uniquely enables the high-throughput study of individual live sperm in semen samples – assessing the inherently single-cell selection process of fertilization, with single-cell resolution.

Graphical abstract: Live sperm trap microarray for high throughput imaging and analysis

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Article information

02 Nov 2018
21 Jan 2019
First published
23 Jan 2019

Lab Chip, 2019,19, 815-824
Article type

Live sperm trap microarray for high throughput imaging and analysis

J. B. You, Y. Wang, C. McCallum, F. Tarlan, T. Hannam, A. Lagunov, K. Jarvi and D. Sinton, Lab Chip, 2019, 19, 815
DOI: 10.1039/C8LC01204K

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