Update on the impact of Chlamydia trachomatis infection on male fertility


Gustavo F. Gonzales, Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy, and Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Postal Office 1843, Lima, Peru. Tel.: +511 4821195; Fax: +511 4821195; e-mail: iiad@upch.edu.pe


With approximately 90 million cases annually, infection with Chlamydia trachomatis is the most prevalent sexually transmitted bacterial disease in the world. Considering that these infections are often asymptomatic and cause major complications like acute pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, infertility or infant pneumonia, the estimated costs for diagnosis and treatment in the USA amounts to 2.2 million US dollars for each 500 cases. Therefore, there is a high need for correct, quick and cost-effective diagnosis and treatment of this urogenital tract infection. New innovative therapies provide good results with regard to efficacy and patients’ compliance. The success rates of treatments are at least 95%. However, the occurrence of antibiotic resistance should not be ignored and new treatment schemes must be developed. The state-of-the-art of diagnosis and treatment of chlamydial infections as well as the pathophysiology is discussed in this review. In conclusion, infections with C. trachomatis is an important public health problem, especially in third world and developing countries, and more socio-economic studies linking secondary prevention of chlamydial infections, infertility and adverse pregnancy outcome are needed to understand more of its aetiology. In addition, diagnosis and treatment should be improved. Data in men revealed that past infections but not present infections are more related to male infertility. There is still controversial results. In future studies, function of the seminal vesicles and evaluation of the antioxidant capacity should be taken into account when role of C. trachomatis infection on male fertility is assessed.