Oxidative Stress and Infection

Enzo Vicari, Sandro La Vignera, and Aldo E. Calogero

Abstract Male accessory gland infections (MAGI) are included among the conventional diagnostic categories recognized to cause male infertility. They constitute a clinical model of oxidative stress for a number of considerations: (a) some uropathogens or etiological agents of sexually transmitted diseases (Chlamydia trachomatis, Ureaplasma urealyticum) by themselves, microbial products, and/or toxic metabolites may contribute to an overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS); (b) the canalicular spread of pathogens to one or more male accessory glands causes a further increase of ROS production, since they become the site of inflammation as shown by the presence of morphostructural abnormalities. The infecting pathogen triggers an inflammatory process which includes a series of multiple persistent components, such as kinetic of leukocyte subpopulations, pattern of cytokine production, and morphostructural abnormalities of the infected glands. This results in a final impairment of conventional and non-conventional sperm parameters. Therefore, MAGI-related oxidative stress is the sum of a microenvironmental and sperm-related damage. This includes several redox imbalance in the gland (ratio of gland inflamed areas to noninflamed areas), pattern of cytokine release (prooxidative/antioxidant ratio), and sperm microenvironment.

Keywords Chronic bacterial prostatitis • Oxidative stress • Infection • MAGI • Sperm parameters • Seminal leukocyte concentration • ROS production

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