Human papillomaviruses (HPV) may cause sexually transmitted disease. High-risk types of HPV are involved in the development of cervical cell dysplasia, whereas low-risk types may cause genital condyloma. Despite the association between HPV and cancer, donor sperm need not be tested for HPV according to European regulations. Consequently, the potential health risk of HPV transmission by donor bank sperm has not been elucidated, nor is it known how HPV is associated with sperm. The presence of 35 types of HPV was examined on DNA from semen samples of 188 Danish sperm donors using a sensitive HPV array. To examine whether HPV was associated with the sperm, in situ hybridization were performed with HPV-6, HPV-16 and -18, and HPV-31-specific probes. The prevalence of HPV-positive sperm donors was 16.0% and in 66.7% of these individuals high-risk types of HPV were detected. In 5.3% of sperm donors, two or more HPV types were detected. Among all identified HPV types, 61.9% were high-risk types. In situ hybridization experiments identified HPV genomes particularly protruding from the equatorial segment and the tail of the sperm. Semen samples from more than one in seven healthy Danish donors contain HPV, most of them of high-risk types binding to the equatorial segment of the sperm cell. Most HPV-positive sperm showed decreased staining with DAPI, indicative of reduced content of DNA. Our data demonstrate that oncogenic HPV types are frequent in men.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 29-March-2011
Author(s): Kaspersen M., Larsen P., Ingerslev H., Fedder J., Petersen G., Bonde J., Höllsberg P.