The concentration of interleukin (IL) -8 and IL-6 was determined in seminal plasma (SP) samples from 137 randomly chosen subfertile males to evaluate the relationship with other potential parameters of subclinical infection/inflammation such as seminal leukocytes, and with semen quality in a prospective study. All patients were asymptomatic for genital tract infection. A comprehensive semen evaluation included sperm analysis, sperm migration testing, antisperm antibody screening, immunocytochemical round cell differentiation to determine seminal leukocytes counts and the leukocyte ratio, complement fraction C 3 (C 3c ) determination, and semen cultures, in aliquots of the same ejaculates. The SP concentration of IL-8 was inversely related to semen quality, e.g. to the total number of motile spermatozoa or to the outcome of the sperm migration test (motile sperm harvested after a swim-up procedure). IL-8 concentrations were significantly correlated with leukocyte counts per ml ( P < 0.0001) and per ejaculate ( P < 0.0001), and with the leukocyte ratio ( P < 0.001). All leukocytospermic samples had high IL-8 concentrations (≤2 ng/ml). The SP concentration of IL-6 was much lower, but was significantly correlated with IL-8 ( P < 0.0001). Both IL-8 and IL-6 were significantly related with the C 3c . No association of interleukin concentrations with the bacterial colonization of semen samples was found. The results indicate a marked relationship of some pro-inflammatory cytokines with semen quality. The significant association with seminal leukocytes and other potential inflammation markers suggests that IL-8 might be used as sensitive marker for silent male genital tract infection.
Copyright (C) 2001, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
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