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Volume 24, Issue 4 (July 2022) 24, 398–405; 10.4103/aja202172

Semen microbiota in normal and leukocytospermic males

Ye Yao1,2,3, Xin-Jian Qiu2, Dong-Sheng Wang2, Jie-Kun Luo2, Tao Tang2, Yun-Hui Li2, Chun-Hu Zhang2, Hao Liu4, Lu Zhou2, Lin-Lin Zhao1

1 Health Management Center, The Third Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410013, China
2 Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410005, China
3 Department of Nephrology, Integrated Hospital of Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510220, China
4 Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangdong Second Provincial General Hospital, Guangzhou 510220, China

Correspondence: Dr. LL Zhao (zllin7@126.com)

Date of Submission 12-Apr-2021 Date of Acceptance 14-Oct-2021 Date of Web Publication 10-Dec-2021


Large numbers of microbes can be present in seminal fluid, and there are differences in the semen microbiota between normal and abnormal semen samples. To evaluate the semen microbiota in patients with leukocytospermia, 87 seminal fluid samples, including 33 samples with a normal seminal leukocyte count and 54 samples with leukocytospermia, were obtained for a cross-sectional analysis. Twenty samples with a normal seminal leukocyte count had normal sperm parameters (Control group), and 13 samples with a normal seminal leukocyte count were from asthenozoospermia patients (Ast group). However, 32 samples with leukocytospermia were from asthenozoospermia patients (LA group), and only 22 samples with leukocytospermia had normal sperm parameters (Leu group). The 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequencing method was used to sequence the microbiota in the seminal fluid, and multiple bioinformatics methods were utilized to analyze the data. Finally, the results showed that the worse sperm parameters were observed in the leukocytospermia-related groups. Semen microbiota analysis found that there was increased alpha diversity in the leukocytospermia-related groups. Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Bacteroidetes were the primary phyla in the seminal fluid. Two microbiota profiles, namely, Lactobacillus-enriched and Streptococcus-enriched groups, were identified in this study. The majority of the samples in the groups with a normal seminal leukocyte count could be categorized as Lactobacillus-enriched, whereas the majority of the leukocytospermia samples could be categorized as Streptococcus-enriched. Our study indicated that males with leukocytospermia have worse sperm parameters and a different semen microbiota composition compared to males with a normal seminal leukocyte count.

Keywords: 16S rRNA gene sequencing; asthenozoospermia; leukocytospermia; semen microbiota; sperm motility

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