Diagnostiki Athinon's AndroScan® Comprehensive is a pioneering molecular test that allows the detection of obligate pathogens, potentially pathogenic microorganisms, and yeasts/fungi, in order to clarify the etiology of acute and chronic inflammation of the male urogenital system.
Diseases of the male reproductive system are the main cause of reduced male reproductive function. This fact is of great social and economic importance, taking into account, in particular, the current reduction in births.
The combination of infectious and inflammatory processes, which in the long run determines the size of the damage to fertility, is considered the main reason for the occurrence of diseases of the genital system in men. Chronic inflammation results in a prolonged toxic effect on the germinal epithelium, disrupts the blood-testicular barrier, affects the rheological properties and chemical composition of sperm plasma, and can cause the development of autoimmune reactions, such as the formation of anti-sperm antibodies. The progression of inflammation causes the appearance of a large number of activated immune cells, which is accompanied by excessive production of oxygen free radicals and increased secretion of cytokines and other molecules, resulting in secondary inflammation of the reproductive tissues.
Both sexually transmitted pathogens and opportunistic pathogens (such as yeasts, protozoa, etc.) can be the cause of these diseases. Various laboratory tests are recommended to diagnose these pathological conditions. According to the International Union against Sexually Transmitted Infections (IUSTI), urethral smear staining, cultures, or molecular techniques (NAAT) can be used to diagnose urethritis. For balanitis (inflammation of the glans penis) cultures (with emphasis on the search for the yeast Candida) and possibly molecular tests. For the diagnosis of prostatitis, various tests are suggested, with the most important being the Meares-Stamey test, while simple sperm cultures have a sensitivity of about 50% and for this reason, are not recommended in the laboratory investigation of chronic prostatitis.
Until recently, all data on possible infectious agents of the male urogenital system came from using techniques based on classical microbiological cultures, which to this day are still the reference methods for the diagnosis of infectious and inflammatory processes. However, in recent years, many molecular techniques have been introduced into laboratory medicine, resulting in the discovery of many important microorganisms as causative agents of various pathological conditions, which are difficult or even impossible to cultivate with conventional microbiological methods. Many of these microorganisms were unknown until recently.
According to modern views, diseases of the male urogenital system can be caused either by obligate pathogens (Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Mycoplasma genitalium, Trichomonas vaginalis) or by facultative pathogens that are naturally present in the urogenital system in low numbers. This is why quantitative evaluation is required in order to determine their role in the occurrence of diseases. Also, common microbes such as staphylococci (Staphylococcus sp.), streptococci (Streptococcus sp.), Corynebacterium sp., and lactobacilli (Lactobacillus sp.) can be found in low numbers in the lower urinary tract of asymptomatic men.
Who should be tested with AndroScan® Comprehensive?
AndroScan® Comprehensive is addressed to men with possible diseases of the genital system that can be caused by a combined infection and inflammation and includes the following:
- Non-specific urethritis (NSU)
- Other urethritis
- Urethral syndrome, unspecified
- Prostate hyperplasia
- Acute prostatitis
- Chronic prostatitis
- Orchitis and epididymitis
- Peyronie's disease
- Inflammatory diseases of the seminal vesicle
- Inflammatory diseases of the ejaculatory duct, the tunica vaginalis, and vas deferens
In recent years, several culture-independent, molecular techniques based on DNA analysis have been developed. One of them is the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) with a real-time recording (Real-Time PCR). This method allows the quantitative analysis of any number of microorganisms in a biological sample. The method was developed in 1996 following the "traditional" PCR. The Real-Time PCR method provides high sensitivity and specificity equivalent (or even better) to the "traditional" PCR, while at the same time it has several advantages both in relation to other molecular techniques and in relation to the classical microbiological techniques. Unlike older techniques, RT-PCR does not require special conditions for the transport and storage of clinical specimens (without compromising the quality of the test) and has high analytical sensitivity and specificity. It has the same sensitivity and specificity for all microorganisms in the sample, including non-cultivable and difficult to cultivate. In addition, the analysis time is much shorter than the analysis time from the bacterial cultures. The sensitivity of RT-PCR in detecting easy-to-grow aerobic microbes is 100% compared to cultures.
The time of analysis is very important in order for the doctor to decide on the most appropriate treatment. Bacterial culture-based techniques are quite demanding and time-consuming (7-10 days), so treatment is often empirical at the beginning. This usually results in an increased prescription of antibiotics and consequently an increased risk of side effects.
Considering the clinical significance of male genital diseases, their mild symptoms or even the asymptomatic clinical course as well as the importance of medical examination in both members of the couple with reproductive problems, AndroScan® Comprehensive allows with great precision, speed, and reliability, the diagnosis of infection and inflammatory process of the genital system in men.