PROBLEM: The role of cell-mediated immunity (CMI) in unexplained male infertility and impaired sperm function has been explored.
METHOD OF STUDY: The presence of cytokines, namely, interleukin-4 (IL-4), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and the soluble interleukin-2 receptor (SIL-2R), was investigated in seminal plasma of 18 fertile and 20 infertile subjects, using specific enzyme-linked immunoadsorbent assays. RESULTS: IL-4 was not detected. SIL-2R was detected, but the concentration difference between the fertile and infertile group was not significant. IL-6 was detected with significantly higher levels in the infertile group compared to the fertile group. IL-6 levels in seminal plasma correlated positively with leukocyte count and negatively with sperm count, motility, and morphology.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings show: a) a lack of IL-4 in seminal plasma; b) similar SIL-2R levels in fertile and infertile seminal plasma; c) increased IL-6 secretion in seminal plasma of infertile subjects; and d) specific correlations of IL-6 with the main semen parameters.