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Juergen Liebermann1 *, Frank Haegele1 , Thomas Steck1 , Johannes Dietl.1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of In Vitro Fertilization and Assisted Reproductive Medicine, University of Wuerzburg, Germany. 1
The effects of leukocyte-derived cytokines on parameters of human semen is very controversial. Therefore we decided to examine the effects of Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) and Interleukin 12 (IL-12) on the motility of spermatozoa in an in vitro assay. In addition we analyzed for Substance P in seminal plasma (SP) as an activator of TNF synthesis in leukocytes. Spermatograms of 47 fertile and subfertile men was performed according to the WHO-criteria. For the in vitro assay 250.000 washed progressive motile spermatozoa were incubated in 1ml Hams F-10 medium with increasing concentrations of rhTNF or rhIL-12. The motility was determined after 24 and 48 hours of incubation. To detect the concentrations of TNF and Substance P in SP, we used commercially available ELISA kits. We observed a significant increase in motility at an incubation with 100 pg/ml, 1 ng/ml and 10 ng/ml TNF compared to the control group after 24 and 48 hours in samples from normo-(group I) and oligozoospermic men (group II). No effect could be observed with IL-12 incubation. TNF concentrations measured in SP were higher in II (5.29 pg/ml) than in I (4.85 pg/ml). When we subdivided our patient cohort by motility we observed significant higher levels of TNF in the native ejaculates with the highest motility (> 50%) compared to the group with the lowest motility (< 30%). Substance P was detectable in SP in a concentration range from 11.21 pg/ml to 6.45 Fg/ml and showed no significant differences between I and II. Our data clearly demonstrate that TNF has a stimulating effect on the motility of sperm in normo-/oligozoospermic donors. The observation of the stimulating effect of a TH1 cytokine on human spermatozoa is striking and suggests further consideration of the TH1/TH2 paradigma in SP.
This abstract is being presented on Sunday, August 1 at 8:00 AM to 10:15 AM at CUB 2nd Floor Ballroom.