Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection and Its Impact on Male Infertility

Life (Basel). 2022 Nov 18;12(11):1919. doi: 10.3390/life12111919.


Nowadays, the striking numbers of infertile couples that turn to assisted reproductive technologies (ART) drive the research toward a more comprehensive understanding of the underlying causes. Male factors contribute to the inability to conceive in half of the cases, and it has been suggested that sexually transmitted infections could have a role in the onset of spermatozoa impairments. Since the impact of HPV infection on sperm quality and sperm DNA integrity is debated, we wanted to analyze its impact on conventional seminal parameters and the sperm DNA fragmentation index (DFI). Therefore, 117 semen samples of patients undergoing IVF were evaluated for the following characteristics: HPV DNA detection and sperm DNA fragmentation, concentration, motility, and morphology. The results showed a higher rate of HPV-negative patients (59.8% vs. 40.2%) and no HPV-related effect on DFI, sperm concentration, total sperm number, and total motility. Only progressive motility and morphology were found as significantly influenced by HPV positivity. Moreover, we observed a statistically significant difference in DFI when comparing high-risk HPV (HR-HPV) and low-risk HPV (LR-HPV) genotypes. Our data suggest that the presence of any HPV type, whatever the exact localization of the virions, can impair some sperm parameters, while HR-HPVs specifically affect the integrity of spermatozoa DNA.

Keywords: DFI; HPV infection; SCD; differential lysis procedure.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.