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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2006 February;97(1):65-77


language: English, Italian

Sperm output in patients with primary infertility and hepatitis B or C virus; negative influence of hbv infection during concomitant varicocele

Vicari E. 1, Arcoria D. 1, Di Mauro C. 2, Noto R. 2, Noto Z. 2, La Vignera S. 1

1 Section of Endocrinology Andrology and Internal Medicine Department of Biomedical Sciences Garibaldi Hospital University of Catania, Catania, Italy; 2 Section of Internal Medicine and Internal Specialities Department of Internal Medicine and System Pathologies, Garibaldi Hospital University of Catania, Catania, Italy


Aim. The aim of this study was to evaluate the sperm abnormalities in young infertile patients with hepatitis B (HBV) or C (HCV) virus infection and to evaluate the additional negative influence of varicocele on sperm parameters in these patients.
Methods. Part I. Forty-two infertile patients in Child-Pugh classification A with HBV (n=23) or HCV (n=19) infection, underwent sperm analysis and quantitative detection of HBV-DNA or HCV-RNA in blood serum. Sperm parameters were compared to those of a group of 30 patients with primary infertility due to causes different from liver diseases and/or varicocele). Part II. Twenty-one infertile patients with varicocele associated to HBV (n=11) or HCV (n=10) infection were also enrolled and underwent semen analysis: a group of 39 patients without liver disease, but with varicocele alone served as matched-control group.
Results. Part I. HBV patients (with a median HBV-DNA load of 6¥105 copies/mL, range 1¥105-10¥106) showed median sperm parameters (sperm density, total number, forward motility and morphology, viability) significantly worse than those found in patients with HCV (with a median HCV-RNA load of 2.3¥106 copies/mL, range (2¥105-12¥106). Sperm parameters showed no significant correlation with the duration of infertility neither with the duration of viral infection. Sperm morphology only, exhibited a trend (P=0.06) of negative correlationship (r=-0.59) with the viral HBV-DNA load, whereas the other sperm parameters studied showed no correlation with the viral load. Part II. The group of infertile patients with HBV and varicocele showed median values of all sperm parameter evaluated significantly worse than those found in infertile patients with varicocele alone, or with HCV infection plus varicocele.
Conclusion. Patients with HBV infection show worse sperm parameters compared with HCV patients. The additional presence of varicocele further impairs sperm output in HBV patients.

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