Presentation Authors: Eugenio Ventimiglia*, Paolo Capogrosso, Luca Boeri, Walter Cazzaniga, Edoardo Pozzi, Francesco Chierigo, Nicolò Schifano, Federico Belladelli, Rani Zuabi, Costantino Abbate, Federico Dehò, Milan, Italy, Vincenzo Mirone, Naples, Italy, Franco Gaboardi, Francesco Montorsi, Andrea Salonia, Milan, Italy
Introduction: Semen leukocytes are thought to be involved in the reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated sperm damage. However, conflicting findings have been reported so far. Aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between semen leukocytes and sperm DNA fragmentation index (SDF) in men without semen infection.
Methods: Complete socio-demographic, clinical and hormonal data from 185 consecutive non-azoospermic infertile men seeking medical help for primary couple&[prime]s infertility were analysed. Both negative urine and semen cultures were required for study entry. Health-significant comorbidities were scored with the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI; categorized 0 vs 1 vs â‰¥2). Semen analyses followed 2010 World Health Organization reference criteria. Sperm DFI [sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA); SDF â‰¤30% was defined as non-pathologic] was measured in every patient. Smoking status was categorized as: no current smokers, current smokers, and former smokers. Descriptive statistics, linear regression, and logistic regression analyses tested the association between sperm leukocytes and pathological DFI, after adjusting for age, BMI, CCI, smoking status, and length of infertility.
Results: Median age [IQR] was 38 years [35-42]. Overall, pathological sperm SDF was found in 98 (53%) men, whereas 32 (17%) men had leukocytospermia according to WHO criteria. Men with leukocytospermia had higher median DFI values compared to men without leukocytospermia (34.91 [22.27- 53.76] vs. 21.09 [13.62- 37.91], p=0.008). At linear regression analysis, the number of sperm leukocytes was linearly associated to measured sperm SDF (beta: 0.1, p=0.003). At multivariate logistic regression analysis, leukocytospermia was significantly associated to pathological SDF (OR 2.95 [1.28-6.77]; p=0.01).
Conclusions: Leukocytospermia can be found in 1 out 6 men with negative semen culture, and detrimentally impacts on sperm DFI. Our results, highlighting the role of sperm leukocytes in ROS-mediated sperm DNA damage, could outline a pathophysiological pathway between inflammatory/infectious conditions and poor reproductive health.