Living Reference Work Entry

Endocrinology of the Testis and Male Reproduction

Part of the series Endocrinology pp 1-19

Date: Latest Version

Infectious and Immunological Aspects of Male Infertility

  • Qian JiangAffiliated withDepartment of Cell Biology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, School of Basic Medicine, Peking Union Medical College
  • , Daishu HanAffiliated withDepartment of Cell Biology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, School of Basic Medicine, Peking Union Medical College Email author 

Abstract

Microbial infections and immunological disorders in the male genital system are among the etiological factors of male infertility. The male genital tracts, particularly the testis and epididymis, possess special immunoregulatory mechanisms to protect sperm from immune attacks. However, microbial infections, chemical toxins, and physical trauma may disrupt the immune homeostasis in the male genital tracts and induce local inflammation or autoimmune responses, thereby perturbing fertility. Inflammation in the male genital system is characterized by leukocyte infiltration, increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and impairment of tissue function. Autoimmune responses to male germ cell antigens may lead to a chronic inflammation in the testis and the generation of antisperm antibodies that impair sperm function. Understanding the mechanisms underlying infectious and immunological infertility can aid in the development of preventive and therapeutic approaches for the disease. This chapter describes the major microbial infections and immunological disorders in the male genital system, as well as their detrimental effects on male fertility.

Keywords

Male infertility Infection Inflammation Antisperm antibody