Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 34053114
Link to DOI – 10.1111/and.14129
Andrologia 2021 Sep; 53(8): e14129
Leukocytospermia was previously reported to affect sperm quality by the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) leading to oxidative stress (OS). In turn, OS decreases sperm functional integrity, increases sperm DNA damage and ultimately alters fertility status. To elucidate the impact of leukocytospermia on sperm nuclear DNA integrity and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) structure, we conducted a study including 67 samples from infertile patients with low level of leucocytes (Group 1: n = 20) and with leukocytospermia (Group 2: n = 47). In addition to standard sperm parameters’ assessment, we measured the levels of inflammation biomarkers [interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-8 (IL-8)] and evaluated the oxidative status [malondialdehyde (MDA) and enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants]. In addition, we evaluated the level of sperm nuclear DNA fragmentation and analysed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of sperm cells by sequencing of 5 genes [cytochrome oxidase I (COXI), cytochrome oxidase II (COXII), cytochrome oxidase III (COXIII), adenosine triphosphate synthase 6 (ATPase 6) and adenosine triphosphate synthase 8 (ATPase 8)]. As expected, patients with leukocytospermia had significantly higher MDA levels (32.56 ± 24.30 nmole/ml) than patients without leukocytospermia (17.59 ± 9.60 nmole/ml) (p < .018). Also, sperm DNA fragmentation index (DFI) was significantly higher in Group 2 (33.05 ± 18.14%) as compared to Group 1 (14.19 ± 9.50%) (p < .001). The sequencing of mtDNA revealed a high number of substitutions in Group 2 (n = 102) compared to Group 1 (n = 5). These substitutions were observed mainly in COXI. Among COXI substitutions found in Group 2, twelve changes were previously described in patients with prostate cancer and six of them were shown associated with this pathology. These findings suggest that leukocytospermia may predispose to the manifestation of prostate cancer through modification of mitochondrial DNA and this may be promoted by OS.