Research on mice with mutated mitochondria may help explain some cases of infertility among human males (Nakada K et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006;103:15148-15153).
In the study, the researchers created male “mito-mice” with different levels (from less than 10% to more than 80%) of mutant mitochondrial DNA. Mice with more than 70% mutant mitochondria had difficulty undergoing meiosis, the process through which sperm are produced. In addition, the sperm that the animals did produce had increased morphological abnormalities and decreased swimming ability.
Stephenson J. Mitochondria Defect. JAMA. 2006;296(19):2307. doi:10.1001/jama.296.19.2307-b