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In 2018 the International Symposium on Spermatology will take place just outside Stockholm, Sweden. In a conference resort situated on the rural island of Lidingö, scientists dedicated to mutual gain in knowledge of spermatozoa will meet to present interesting data and to discuss.
The general aim of the Symposium is thus to bring together scientists from a wide spectrum of research fields – human, domestic animals and other mammals, vertebrates, insects and even plants. All with an interest in the function of the spermatozoon – a common feature for sexual reproduction but still extremely varied. By exploring the variability, a better understanding of male reproductive functions can develop. Focus will be on mechanisms of physiology and pathophysiology rather than diagnosis and treatment.
The XIII International Symposium will focus on comparative biology and rich opportunities for spontaneous discussions and exchange of ideas and views.
The format will be keynote lectures by invited speakers, followed by presentations on specific aspects of the general theme of the session. There will be room for free communications, oral or by poster. Experimental studies will be given priority over clinical studies of patient populations.
The Symposium is composed on seven themes related to spermatozoa.
Titles may be amended. TBA= speaker to be announced
Following reports on declining sperm numbers in human, there is an interest in understanding if this a universal problem, affecting also other species. What is the role of environmental influence? The fate of endangered species is also a matter that might be linked to a general decline in sperm production.
The purpose of the spermatozoon is to deliver half of the genome of a new individual to the oocyte. The DNA must be protected from harmful influences and still be able to deliver the undamaged DNA at the right time.
One aspect of spermatozoa important to sperm development in many species is sperm competition. Once at the site of fertilization the spermatozoon must find the key to the fertilization lock.
Advances in genetic methodology opens new possibilities to understand normal and abnormal sperm structure and function. Björn Afzelius discovered dynein arms in 1958 and described the immotile-cilia-syndrome 20 years later. Also other ciliary defects can cause infertility and structural defects should be traced to the genetic origins. Other aspects involve how selection of haploid germ cells can influence the offspring, and how.
There have been two major consensus papers about CASA – the first from the Spermatology meeting in Cairns in 1994, the second from an ESHRE SIGA campus meeting in San Miniato in 1998 – but many of the recommendations from those meetings are still overlooked or ignored.
The aim of this session is to revisit these recommendations and decide which are still relevant today, in other words, what is still left to do to bring CASA to the point where it is the “go to” solution for all relevant work. The concept of this session is to consider what CASA is currently being used for in the lab, and what it could be used for if it had the capacity.
Studies of spermatozoa as well as clinical routines for treatment and cryopreservation often means that spermatozoa are taken out of their natural environments. This session aims at outlining in vitro challenges for spermatozoa in vitro and what can be done to overcome them.
There appears to be a difference in sperm morphology between species with competition on sperm level and those with competition on individual level. In species, like human, with pleiomorphic spermatozoa there is a special challenge describing and characterizing morphology aspects that are relevant to the function of the male reproductive organs and to male reproductive success. Categorization schemes must be based on relevant investigations of individuals of different reproductive success and be used consistently due to standardized training and techniques. Formal standardization could be a meaningful way of turning WHO recommendations into a proper universal standard.