Carlo Foresta M.D.a, , Damiano Pizzol M.D.a, Alessandro Bertoldo B.Sc.a, Massimo Menegazzo B.Sc.a, Luisa Barzon M.D.b and Andrea Garolla M.D.a
a Department of Histology, Microbiology and Medical Biotechnologies, Clinical Pathology Section & Centre for Male Gamete Cryopreservation, University of Padova, Italy
b Department of Histology, Microbiology and Medical Biotechnologies, Section of Microbiology and Medical Biotechnologies, University of Padova, Italy
Received 26 January 2011; revised 23 March 2011; accepted 5 April 2011. Available online 4 May 2011.
To determine the effectiveness of three sperm washing protocols for removing human papillomavirus (HPV)-infected cells from semen samples of infertile patients.
Cross-sectional clinical study.
Andrology and microbiology sections at a university hospital.
A group of 32 infertile patients positive for semen HPV, detected with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and in-situ hybridization in sperm and exfoliated cells.
Semen analysis and in-situ hybridization for HPV detection were performed before and after sperm washing, discontinuous Ficoll gradients, and swim-up protocols. Statistical analysis was performed with a two-tailed Student’s t-test.
Main Outcome Measure(s)
Evaluation of sperm parameters and presence of HPV, performed in semen samples before and after procedures of sperm selection.
All native samples showed the presence of infected sperm with a mean percentage of positivity (24.7% ± 8.9%) higher than exfoliated cells (13.8% ± 4.3%). Fifteen samples had HPV DNA on sperm and exfoliated cells. Sperm washing centrifugation showed no changes in the number of infected samples and in the percentage of infected cells. Ficoll and swim-up protocols induced a slight reduction in the number of infected samples (30 and 26, respectively).
This study demonstrated that conventional sperm selection rarely eliminates HPV sperm infection. More attention should be paid to the reproductive health of infected patients because, not only can HPV be transmitted, but it may also have a negative effect on development of the fetus.