Detection of chlamydia infection within human testicular biopsies

Emily R. Bryan, Robert, I McLachlan, Luk Rombauts, Darren J. Katz, Anusch Yazdani, Kristofor Bogoevski, Crystal Chang, Michelle L. Giles, Alison J. Carey, Charles W. Armitage, Logan K. Trim, Eileen A. McLaughlin, Kenneth W. Beagley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    STUDY QUESTION: Can Chlamydia be found in the testes of infertile men? SUMMARY ANSWER: Chlamydia can be found in 16.7% of fresh testicular biopsies and 45.3% of fixed testicular biopsies taken from a selection of infertile men. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Male chlamydial infection has been understudied despite male and female infections occurring at similar rates. This is particularly true of asymptomatic infections, which occur in 50% of cases. Chlamydial infection has also been associated with increased sperm DNA damage and reduced male fertility. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: We collected diagnostic (fixed, n = 100) and therapeutic (fresh, n = 18) human testicular biopsies during sperm recovery procedures from moderately to severely infertile men in a cross-sectional approach to sampling. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: The diagnostic and therapeutic biopsies were tested for Chlamydia-specific DNA and protein, using real-time PCR and immunohistochemical approaches, respectively. Serum samples matched to the fresh biopsies were also assayed for the presence of Chlamydia-specific antibodies using immunoblotting techniques. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Chlamydial major outer membrane protein was detected in fixed biopsies at a rate of 45.3%. This was confirmed by detection of chlamydial DNA and TC0500 protein (replication marker). C. trachomatis DNA was detected in fresh biopsies at a rate of 16.7%, and the sera from each of these three positive patients contained C. trachomatis-specific antibodies. Overall, C. trachomatis-specific antibodies were detected in 72.2% of the serum samples from the patients providing fresh biopsies, although none of the patients were symptomatic nor had they reported a previous sexually transmitted infection diagnosis including Chlomydia. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: No reproductively healthy male testicular biopsies were tested for the presence of Chlamydia DNA or proteins or Chlamydia-specific antibodies due to the unavailability of these samples. WIDER IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FINDINGS: Application of Chlamydia-specific PCR and immunohistochemistry in this human male infertility context of testicular biopsies reveals evidence of a high prevalence of previously unrecognised infection, which may potentially have a pathogenic role in spermatogenic failure.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1891-1898
    Number of pages8
    JournalHuman Reproduction
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019


    Dive into the research topics of 'Detection of chlamydia infection within human testicular biopsies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this