• Cytokines;
  • intra-acrosomal proteins;
  • male infertility;
  • sperm antibodies

Problem  The aim of this study was to investigate seminal sperm-agglutinating antibodies, intra-acrosomal proteins, sperm head abnormalities, and cytokines (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p70 TNF-α, and IFN-γ) in men from infertile couples.

Method of study  The direct mixed anti-immunoglobulin reaction test for IgG, IgA, and IgE in semen, and immunocytochemical method using monoclonal antibodies and indirect immunofluorescence for the examination of intra-acrosomal proteins in the spermatozoa were used. Cytokines in seminal plasma were determined by multiplex immunoanalytic xMAP (LUMINEX) technology.

Results  Sperm-agglutinating antibodies, IgG and IgA, in seminal plasma were found to be more in asthenospermatic and oligoasthenospermatic men than in normospermatic men. Sperm head pathology and very low amounts of acrosomal proteins were frequently detected in pathologic semen samples. Cytokine levels defined as ‘high’ (based on the 75 percentile for each cytokine in all groups) were obtained especially for IL-8, IL-5, IL-6, and IL-10. The high cellularity in semen was correlated with higher IL-5.

Conclusion  Immunologic cause of male infertility is a very important risk factor in the pathogenesis of sperm cells. Sperm autoantibodies and the presence of intra-acrosomal factors must be studied together, cytokines according to accessory cellularity in the semen.