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Urology. 2015 Jul;86(1):41-6. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2015.02.068.

Sperm Parameters and Semen Levels of Inflammatory Cytokines in Helicobacter pylori-infected Men.

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Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine, University of Siena, Italy. Electronic address:
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Neurosciences, University of Siena, Italy.
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale di Lazio e Toscana, Osservatorio Epidemiologico, Roma, Italy.
Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine, University of Siena, Italy.



To explore the relationships between seminal interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) with semen parameters, sperm apoptosis, and necrosis in subjects infected by Helicobacter pylori (HP) expressing and not expressing CagA.


In 109 selected patients, HP infection and seminal levels of IL-6 and TNF-α were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Western blotting was used to detect antibodies to CagA. Semen parameters were determined following World Health Organization guidelines and sperm apoptosis and necrosis by annexin V and propidium iodide assay.


Twenty-eight subjects were infected by HP (HP+); among them, 12 were CagA seropositive (CagA+) and 16 were negative (CagA-). Eighty-one men were HP seronegative (HP-). Semen TNF-α and IL-6 concentrations were increased in HP+ vs HP- groups (TNF-α: 41 pg/mL vs 27 pg/mL; IL-6: 11 pg/mL vs 5 pg/mL; P <.01). In comparison to the HP- group, CagA+ group showed reduced sperm motility (24% vs 32% motile sperm; P <.05), enhanced necrosis (33.5% vs 21% necrotic sperm; P <.05), and increased cytokines levels (TNF-α: 46 pg/mL vs 27 pg/mL; P <.01; IL-6: 17.5 pg/mL vs 5 pg/mL; P <.01). Sperm motility of CagA+ group was lower vs CagA- group (24% vs 36.5% motile sperm; P <.05). Both IL-6 and TNF-α levels positively correlated with the percentage of necrotic sperm (P <.001).


CagA+ HP infection increases semen levels of inflammatory cytokines, which may reduce sperm motility and determine sperm damage and contribute to reduce the reproductive potential in men.

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