Association prevalence and clearance of human papillomavirus and antisperm antibodies in infected semen samples from infertile patients

This clinical study demonstrates the significant association between HPV sperm infection and ASAs and their clearance time in infertile patients.

Andrea Garolla, M.D., Damiano Pizzol, M.D., Alessandro Bertoldo, B.Sc., Luca De Toni, B.Sc., Luisa Barzon, M.D., Carlo Foresta, Ph.D.

Volume 99, Issue 1, Pages 125-131.e2, January 2013


To evaluate prevalence, association, and clearance of human papillomavirus (HPV) and antisperm antibodies (ASAs) in infected semen samples from infertile patients.

Cross-sectional clinical study.

Andrology and microbiology sections at a university hospital.

Three groups of subjects: 61 infertile patients with HPV semen infection, 104 noninfected infertile subjects, and 92 control subjects.

Semen analysis, spermMar test, fluorescence in situ hybridization for sperm aneuploidy and for HPV, and immunofluorescence for HPV 16-L1 and immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG, and IgM) determination.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
Association of sperm procedures, HPV sperm infection, sperm aneuploidies, and sperm ASAs.

Infertile patients with HPV semen infection showed high percentages of ASAs. In these patients HPV sperm infection was associated with lower sperm motility, which was worse in subjects with ASAs. No alterations of sperm chromosomes were observed. To obtain a significant clearance of both HPV sperm infection and ASAs at least 24 months of follow-up were needed.

Human papillomavirus has been recently suggested to have an important role in male infertility. This study demonstrated that HPV sperm infection can be long lasting and frequently associated with ASAs that may further reduce male fertility. Infertile patients with positive spermMar test results should be considered for investigation for HPV, especially if they are candidates for assisted reproduction.

  • NicoGarrido

    Dear Dr Garolla, congratulations for your nice work
    on the light of your findings, do you suggest testing all infertile patients for HPV?
    in our facility, we see very infrequently patients with sperm aggregation, the main symptom of having ASA.
    If a patient is diagnosed as being HPV+, then, is there any treatment they can receive in order to improve the infection status and semen quality you would recommend, or it is just an issue of nkowing they have diminished pregnancy chances?
    all the best

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