Background: In order to better understand the pathogenesis of risk of future sub-/infertility in children with undescended testes (UDT), we designed this prospective study to examine the oxidative stress, inflammatory response and autoimmunity in children with UDT. We examined the concentrations of malondialdehyde (MDA), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and antisperm antibodies (ASA) in children with UDT and healthy controls.
Methods: The UDT group consisted of 88 boys (aged 1–14 years, unilateral in 67 and bilateral in 21 cases), and 44 boys with normal descended testes served as a control group. Clinical evaluation revealed no testicular or other system abnormalities. MDA was used as lipid peroxidation index. IL-6 levels were measured using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. ASA was determined with an anti-human spermatozoa immunoglobulin G test.
Results: Mean age values ± SD were 4.6 ± 3.2 in the UDT group and 4.7 ± 3.4 in the control group (P= 0.872). MDA and IL-6 results for the UDT and control groups were significantly different (P= 0.003 and P= 0.019, respectively), but those for ASA were not (P= 0.473). The mean MDA and IL-6 values were significantly higher in bilateral cases than the respective values in the unilateral cases (MDA: 4.03 ± 3.68 vs 3.49 ± 5.22, P= 0.015; IL-6: 7.70 ± 6.86 vs 3.48 ± 6.50, P= 0.001) (P= 0.015).
Conclusion: The results indicate that children with UDT are exposed to high levels of oxidative stress and inflammatory reaction. This could negatively affect the future fertility in these children.