• Granulocyte elastase;
  • infertility;
  • inflammation;
  • leukocytospermia;
  • sperm function

PROBLEM: Mechanisms involved in infertility due to genitourinary (GU) inflammation are unknown. The production of pro-inflammatory (GROα) and anti-inflammatory (IL-10) cytokines in seminal plasma is monitored in this study.

METHOD: GROα, IL-10, and granulocyte elastase were evaluated in semen from I) normal, II) infertile patients, and III) infertile patients with leukocytospermia.

RESULTS: GROα in infertile patients with GU inflammation was 1.5-fold higher compared to group II and 2.5-fold higher compared to group I patients. The IL-10 levels were 12- to 16-fold lower compared to GROα in these samples. Mean ratio of GROα to IL-10 was higher in group III than the other two groups. A positive correlation was observed between granulocyte elastase and GROα in all groups. Group III patients exhibited poor sperm parameters.

CONCLUSIONS: A shift towards increased production of pro-inflammatory chemokine GROα may have a potential role in male infertility associated with GU inflammation.