Problem: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of valacyclovir treatment on natural killer (NK) cell concentration in the peripheral blood of infertile women.
Method of study: Peripheral blood NK cell concentration of 104 non-pregnant women with a history of infertility was determined by flow cytometry. The controls were 14 fertile non-pregnant women. A cohort of 42 out of 104 women – whose NK cell levels were 175/μL or higher – was prospectively studied for the presence of HSV-1, 2, VZV, cytomegalovirus, HHV-6, HHV-7 and HHV-8 DNA in the peripheral blood and was orally administered valacyclovir (open label study).
Results: Herpes virus DNA was detected in 64.3% of the 42 women examined. Prior to valacyclovir treatment mean NK cell concentration in herpes-negative group was statistically higher from control group but lower from herpes positive group (P = 0.0007, anova). Following valacyclovir treatment the mean NK cell concentration was statistically decreased in all studied women (P = 0.000453), in herpes-negative (P = 0.01622) and in herpes positive group (P = 0.0056). Sufficient decrease was observed in 31 (73.8%) of 42 women who received the drug.
Conclusions: Valacyclovir treatment is associated with a decrease of NK cell levels in most of the women with a history of infertility.