Distinct expression of cytokines and mitogenic inhibitory factors in semen of fertile and infertile men Academic Article uri icon


  • PROBLEM: To assess the effect of seminal plasma (SP) of fertile and infertile men on leukocyte mitogenic response, and the capability of sperm cells to produce IL-I. METHODS: This study included four groups: fertile men (donors, normal), infertile men with azoospermia (azoo), oligo-terato-asthenozoospermia (OTA), and OTA with genital infection (OTA-inf). Mouse spleen cell proliferation in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or Concanavalin-A (Con-A) was examined in the presence of SP from the above four groups. Supematants (sup) and lysates (lys) of sperm cells from fertile and oligoteratoasthenospermic (OTA) men were evaluated for IL-1 bioactivity by specific bioassay. RESULTS: Seminal plasma (SP) of the four groups were shown to inhibit the mitogenic response of mouse spleen cells to LPS and Con-A. SP of fertile men was significantly more inhibitory than SP from infertile men. Sperm cells from fertile and OTA infertile men constitutively produced IL-1. Sperm cells of both groups produced similar levels of IL- 1 as examined in the supernatants and lysates. CONCLUSIONS: Seminal plasma of fertile men had more inhibitory mitogenic activity than that of OTA. Sperm cells constitutively produce IL- 1. It is possible that the factors involved in this inhibition are not only anti-proliferative immune factors. Cytokines and inhibitory factors of mitogenesis in the seminal plasma may be involved in the physiology and pathophysiology of sperm functions and thus affect male fertility.

publication date

  • January 1, 1997