Presence of DNA of adeno-associated virus in subfertile couples, but no association with fertility factors

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Based on previous reports suggesting a role of adeno-associated virus (AAV) in miscarriage, the prevalence of AAV DNA in genital tracts of male and female partners of subfertile couples was determined to assess a potential association of AAV infection with clinically relevant parameters of male and female fertility.

METHODS

A prospective study was performed in the outpatient infertility clinic of a university-based hospital. Semen samples and endocervical material obtained from 146 male and 134 female partners of asymptomatic subfertile couples were analyzed for the presence of AAV DNA (using nested PCR). Patients' medical histories and details of clinical examinations were recorded. Semen quality, including sperm functional capacity and the presence of antisperm antibodies (ASA) and seminal white blood cells (WBC), was assessed in aliquots of the same ejaculate. Detailed examinations of the cervical factor and other variables of female subfertility were performed. Both partners were screened for bacterial infection.

RESULTS

The presence of AAV DNA in semen was not significantly related to semen quality, including sperm functional capacity or local ASA, nor was it coupled to the presence of AAV in the endocervical material of female partners. The presence of AAV DNA was not associated with the presence of other micro-organisms of the lower genital tract or with seminal WBC in men. AAV DNA in endocervical material was not related to a reduced quality of cervical mucus or to other female infertility factors.

CONCLUSIONS

The presence of AAV DNA in semen samples or endocervical swabs showed no significant association with clinically relevant infertility factors. However, longitudinal studies may clarify previous suggestions of an influence of AAV infection on early pregnancy problems.

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