Expression of IL-12, IL-10, PGE2, sIL-2R and sIL-6R in seminal plasma of fertile and infertile men

Mahmoud Huleihel*, E. Lunenfeld, S. Horowitz, A. Levy, G. Potashnik, M. Mazor, M. Glezerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The involvement of cytokines and other immunoregulatory factors in male infertility is still unclear. In the present study we compared the levels of IL-12, IL-10, PGE2, sIL-2R and sIL-6R in the seminal plasma (SP) of fertile and infertile men. Four groups were included: fertile donors (FERT), infertile men with azoospermia (AZOO), and infertile men with either oligo- terato-asthenoazoospermia (OTA), or OTA with genital infection (OTA-INF). Cytokines and cytokine-soluble receptors in semen were evaluated by specific ELISA commercial kits. The levels of IL-12, sIL-2R and sIL-6R were similar in SP of fertile and infertile men. The mean levels of IL-10 in the SP of FERT, OTA and AZOO were 5.6 ± 0.9, 4 ± 2.8 and 8 ± 3.5 pg ml-1, respectively, and did not differ significantly. The mean level of IL-10 in SP from OTA-INF (0.9±0.5 pg ml-1) was significantly lower than that for FERT (5.6±1.9 pg ml-1; P=0.02) and AZOO (8.2 ± 3.4 pg ml-1; P= 0.05), but not significantly different from that for OTA (3.7 ± 2.1 pg ml-1). The mean SP level of PGE2 was significantly lower in SP of OTA-INF than FERT (7.67±2.26 and 19.67±3.69 μg ml-1, respectively; P< 0.02). In conclusion, the seminal plasma from fertile and infertile men contained similar levels of IL- 12, sIL-2R and sIL-6R. However, the levels of IL-10 were significantly lower in SP from OTA-INF compared to FERT and AZOO. Our results indicate that specific cytokines and their soluble receptors are involved in the male reproductive system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-288
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokines
  • Genital tract
  • Male fertility
  • Semen
  • Sperm cells


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