PROBLEM: To investigate the presence of Regulated on Activation, Normal T Expressed and Secreted (RANTES) in the seminal plasma of fertile, infertile, and immunoinfertile men in order to determine whether it has any role in fertility/infertility and in the modulation of immunogenicity of the sperm cell.
METHOD OF STUDY: The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was performed by using a commercially available immunoassay kit to measure RANTES levels in seminal plasma of fertile (n=28), male-factor infertile (n=35), and immunoinfertile (n=21) patients. The levels were correlated with various seminal parameters.
RESULTS: RANTES was detected in the seminal plasma of fertile, male-factor infertile, and immunoinfertile men. Its levels differed significantly (P<0.05) between the fertile and immunoinfertile groups, with the immunoinfertile group showing an overall decrease of 19.9% in mean values. When RANTES levels were correlated with sperm concentration, total sperm number, and motility, only the total number of the immunoinfertile group correlated (r=0.86) significantly (P=0.03) with the RANTES levels, and none of the other seminal parameters of any other group correlated (r=−0.37–0.30) significantly (P>0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study indicate that RANTES may have a role in immunomodulation of antigenicity of sperm cells in the male genital tract before ejaculation, and perhaps also in the female genital tract after intercourse. The exact physiologic, pathopysiologic, and molecular mechanism(s) involved in these processes require further study.