Antiretroviral therapy effects on genetic and morphologic end points in lymphocytes and sperm of men with human immunodeficiency virus infection

J Infect Dis. 2001 Jul 15;184(2):127-35. doi: 10.1086/322002. Epub 2001 Jun 25.


Many human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons receive prolonged treatment with DNA-reactive antiretroviral drugs. A prospective study was conducted of 26 HIV-infected men who provided samples before treatment and at multiple times after beginning treatment, to investigate effects of antiretrovirals on lymphocyte and sperm chromosomes and semen quality. Several antiretroviral regimens, all including a nucleoside component, were used. Lymphocyte metaphase analysis and sperm fluorescence in situ hybridization were used for cytogenetic studies. Semen analyses included conventional parameters (volume, concentration, viability, motility, and morphology). No significant effects on cytogenetic parameters, semen volume, or sperm concentration were detected. However, there were significant improvements in sperm motility for men with study entry CD4 cell counts >200 cells/mm(3), sperm morphology for men with entry CD4 cell counts < or =200 cells/mm(3), and the percentage of viable sperm in both groups. These findings suggest that nucleoside-containing antiretrovirals administered via recommended protocols do not induce chromosomal changes in lymphocytes or sperm but may produce improvements in semen quality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aneuploidy
  • Anti-HIV Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Chromosome Breakage*
  • Chromosomes / drug effects*
  • Diploidy
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Male
  • Metaphase / drug effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects*


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors