Introduction: Interleukin 8 (IL8) is a proinflammatory cytokine highly expressed in seminal plasma. Seminal IL8 (sIL8) has been proposed as a reliable surrogate marker of prostatitis and as a potential marker of male accessory gland infection (MAGI). So far, no study systematically evaluated the correlations of sIL8 with colour-Doppler ultrasound (CDU) features of the male genital tract. Hence, we investigated these possible correlations in infertile patients with MAGI.
Methods: Out of 250 subjects seeking medical care for couple infertility, 79 (mean age 36.4±7.5 years) met the criteria of MAGI and scored higher than the rest of the sample on the National Institutes of Health-Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index score. All patients underwent, during the same CDU session, hormone evaluation and seminal analysis (including sIL8), along with scrotal and transrectal CDU, before and after ejaculation.
Results: After adjusting for age, sIL8 in patients with MAGI was significantly related to several abnormal semen and CDU parameters. In particular, leukocytospermia was closely associated with sIL8. Ejaculate volume, unlike other semen or hormonal parameters, was negatively associated with sIL8. When transrectal CDU was performed, sIL8 was positively related to prostate abnormalities including calcifications, inhomogeneous or hypo-echoic texture, hyperaemia and high arterial blood flow. In addition, an association between sIL8 and ejaculatory ducts dilatation and calcifications was observed. Finally, an association with seminal vesicles hyper-echoic texture was found. When scrotal CDU was performed, sIL8 was positively related to epididymal abnormalities including inhomogeneous, hypo- or hyper-echoic texture, calcifications, hyperaemia and an increased size of the tail. Conversely, no association was found with testis parameters.
Conclusions: sIL8 levels in patients with MAGI are associated with leukocytospermia and CDU abnormalities of the prostate, seminal vesicles and epididymis, but not of the testis. Furthermore, sIL8 correlates with signs suggestive of ejaculatory duct inflammatory subobstruction.
Declaration of interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research project.
Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.
05 - 09 May 2012
European Society of Endocrinology