Normospermic Patients Infected With Ureaplasma parvum: Role of Dysregulated miR-122-5p, miR-34c-5, and miR-141-3p

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Marilena Galdiero
Carlo Trotta
Maria Teresa Schettino
Luigi Cirillo
Francesca Paola Sasso
Francesco Petrillo
Arianna Petrillo


Background: Ureaplasma parvum (UP) is a causative agent of non-gonococcal urethritis, involved in the pathogenesis of prostatitis and epididymitis, and it could impair human fertility. Although UP infection is a frequent cause of male infertility the study evidence assessing their prevalence and the association in patients with infertility is still scarce. The molecular processes leading to defects in spermatozoa quality are not completely investigated. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been extensively reported as gene regulatory molecules on post-transcriptional levels involved in various biological processes such as gametogenesis, embryogenesis, and the quality of sperm, oocyte, and embryos.

Methods: Therefore, the study design was to demonstrate that miRNAs in body fluids like sperm could be utilized as non-invasive diagnostic biomarkers for pathological and physiological conditions such as infertility. A post-hoc bioinformatics analysis was carried out to predict the pathways modulated by the miRNAs dysregulated in the differently motile spermatozoa.

Results: Here it is shown that normospermic patients infected by UP had spermatozoa with increased quantity of superoxide anions, reduced expression of miR-122-5p, miR-34c-5, and increased miR-141-3p compared with non-infected normospermic patients. This corresponded to a reduction of sperm motility in normospermic infected patients compared with normospermic non-infected ones. A target gene prediction presumed that an essential role of these miRNAs resided in the regulation of lipid kinase activity, accounting for the changes in the constitution of spermatozoa membrane lipids caused by UP. 

Conclusions: Altogether, the data underline the influence of UP on epigenetic mechanisms regulating spermatozoa motility. 


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