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Adverse effects of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection on human sperm quality

Fertility and Sterility Sep 16, 2017

Zheng J, et al. - This study sought to determine the adverse effects of chronic HBV infection on semen parameters and sperm quality. Findings revealed that males with HBV positive status were at increased risk of having lower sperm quality. Chronic HBV infection affected the classic semen parameters and also adversely influenced the sperm DNA structure and function related parameters.


  • This study included 231 chronic HBV-infected and 1641 HBV-negative male partner who underwent assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment.
  • Analysis was performed of sperm parameters including sperm concentration, motility and morphology, sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF), sperm-nucleoprotein transition and acrosin activity before treatment for each sample.
  • Authors used sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA) to determine the SDF.
  • They used Student’s t-test or chi-square for comparing the variables between HBV-infected group and the negative control group.
  • Using the Spearman analysis, further correlations between the parameters of sperm quality and the HBV infection were analyzed.
  • For this study, statistically significant difference was set at p<.05.


  • HBV-infected group indicated a significant decrease of both sperm concentration and motility when comparing to the control group (83.2±66.2 versus 107.3±73.4million/ml, 49.6±15.6 versus 52.6±14.9%, P<.01, respectively).
  • There appeared no difference regarding sperm morphology between the two group (4.0±3.3 versus 4.4±2.9%, P>.05).
  • In addition, HBV infection seemed affecting the sperm DNA integrity because the SDF was increased significantly in the HBV positive group (18.9±10.1 versus 17.0±9.0%, P<.01), and the individual with SDF≥30% was more frequently observed in the HBV positive group compared to the negative group (14.7% versus 8.3%, P<.01).
  • Authors observed similar results by the Spearman analysis in which HBV infection was positive correlated to the SDF (r=0.06, P<.05) and negative correlated to sperm concentration (r=0.119, P<.01), motility (r=0.061, P<.05).
  • On the other hand, the parameters of sperm high DNA stainable (HDS) by SCSA analysis and the sperm-uncleoprotein transition seemed not affected by the HBV infection.
  • Otherwise, the sperm acrosin activity, as one of the functional indicators of sperm also indicated a marked decrease in the group of HBV positive (80.4±0.3 versus 95.1±0.3 μIU/106sperm, P<.01).

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