Measurement of Interleukin 6 in seminal plasma is an objective, sensitive and specific, non-invasive way to investigate acute and chronic inflammation in the male genital system, to investigate male infertility, and to monitor the treatment of these conditions.
Interleukin-6 is a multifunctional cytokine found in seminal plasma and produced by various cell types in the genital system. IL-6 levels are also associated with the secretory activity of Sertoli cells. Significantly elevated IL-6 levels are seen in patients with varicocele. The exact relationship between IL-6 and sperm damage is not known. However, high IL-6 levels are associated with male infertility. All pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, TNFα) affect oxidative stress in the male reproductive system.
Cytokines play an important role in intercellular communication. They participate in numerous physiological and pathological processes, especially in conditions such as inflammatory reactions, and have important roles in the physiology of reproduction in both men and women. In addition to their role in regulating immune responses, there is evidence that some of the cytokines play a direct role in regulating testicular function and the secretion of steroid hormones.
Seminal plasma in humans contains many cytokines which may have different effects on sperm function. Inflammatory cytokines are produced by white blood cells, mainly macrophages, in response to the presence of antigens and pathogenic microorganisms as well as during chronic inflammation. Acute and chronic inflammations play an important role in male infertility. Interleukins are part of the local defense of the genital system against various infectious agents, but they also participate as mediators in the manifestation of pathological conditions due to these factors.
Very often the investigation of the infertile man with the classical microbiological cultures is negative or insufficient in the diagnosis of the genital infection in the man. Measurement of cytokines IL-6, IL-8, and TNFα in seminal plasma is an objective, sensitive and specific, non-invasive way to investigate acute and chronic inflammation in the male reproductive system, to investigate male infertility, and to monitor the treatment of these conditions.