HPV infection spoils semen quality

17 Oct 2021
HPV infection spoils semen quality

HPV DNA appears to be prevalent in the sperm of men with infertility, and its presence is linked to reduced sperm motility and concentration, as reported in a study.

The study included 216 Japanese infertile men (median age 32 years), among whom 174 were nonazoospermic. Researchers assessed HPV prevalence and localization in semen, as well as sperm parameters and seminal sample reactive oxygen species (ROS) activity.

HPV DNA was extracted from liquid-based cytological semen samples. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to amplify the β-globin gene, while nested PCR with MY09/MY11 as outer primers and GP5+/GP6+ as inner primers facilitated HPV-DNA amplification.

HPV prevalence was 12.5 percent (n=27), with high- and low-risk genotypes identified in 15 and 7 men, respectively; four men were infected with both high- and low-risk HPV genotypes. HPV16 was the most common genotype detected in the high-risk group.

There was no significant difference in HPV prevalence seen between azoospermic and nonazoospermic men. In the nonazoospermic group, men with vs without HPV DNA in semen had substantially lower sperm motility and concentration. HPV-positive men had markedly higher ROS levels in seminal plasma compared with HPV-negative patients.

In situ hybridization analysis in HPV-positive men showed that HPV DNA was localized to the head and mid-piece of sperm. Furthermore, HPV DNA was detected in the sperm of young infertile men.

The present data support the hypothesis that HPV DNA can be found in sperm cells, which may negatively affect sperm quality.

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