Use of negative staining technique and electron microscopy for the study of structural anomalies of outer dense fibres of human flagellum
Motility disorders due to tail defects are often seen in clinical andrology. Sperm motility should be assessed with regard to the morphology of the flagellum. Since suitable longitudinal sections are rarely obtained by routine transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and in view of the importance of dense fibres in modulating sperm motility and providing tensile strength, a detailed, study of human sperm flagellum by negative staining andTEM was attempted. The study was undertaken in two groups of men (I) fertile and (II) asthenozoospermic. The study revealed that outer dense fibres extend to 50–60% of the principal piece. Normal dense fibres were seen in 83% sperms and 23% sperms in groupsI andII respectively. The characteristics seen were variation in diameter, breakage or degradation with lacking or extended endpiece. The negative staining method provides an easy and useful analytical tool for identifying the defects of dense fibres and quantifying them.