Testicular microbiome in azoospermic men-first evidence of the impact of an altered microenvironment

M Alfano, R Ferrarese, I Locatelli, E Ventimiglia, Silvia Ippolito, P Gallina, D Cesana, F Canducci, L Pagliardini, P Viganò, M Clementi, M Nebuloni, F Montorsi, A Salonia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

STUDY QUESTION: Given the relevant role of the extracellular microenvironment in regulating tissue homeostasis, is testicular bacterial microbiome (BM) associated with germ cell aplasia in idiopathic non-obstructive azoospermia (iNOA)? SUMMARY ANSWER: A steady increase of dysbiosis was observed among testis with normal spermatogenesis vs. iNOA with positive sperm retrieval and iNOA with complete germ cell aplasia. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Tissue-associated BM has been reported to be a biologically important extracellular microenvironment component for numerous body habitats, but not yet for the human testis. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: Cross-sectional study, investigating tissue-associated BM in the testis of (i) five men with iNOA and negative sperm retrieval at microdissection testicular sperm extraction (microTESE); (ii) five men with iNOA and positive sperm retrieval at microTESE; and (iii) five normozoospermic men upon orchiectomy. Every testicular specimen was histologically classified and analyzed in terms of bacterial community. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Massive ultra-deep pyrosequencing was applied to investigate testis microbiome. Metagenome was analyzed using Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME). Tissue-associated bacterial load was quantified by digital droplet PCR. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Normozoospermic men showed small amounts of bacteria in the testis, with Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes Proteobacteria as the dominating phyla; iNOA individuals had increased amounts of bacterial DNA (P = 0.02), associated with decreased taxa richness due to the lack of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria (P = 2 × 10−5). Specimens with negative sperm retrieval at microTESE depicted complete germ cell aplasia and a further decrease in terms of Firmicutes and Clostridia (P <0.05), a complete lack of Peptoniphilus asaccharolyticus, but increased amount of Actinobacteria. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: The limited number of specimens analyzed in this preliminary study deserves external validation. The paraneoplastic microenvironment could have an impact on the residential bacterial flora. WIDER IMPLICATION OF THE FINDINGS: Human testicular microenvironment is not microbiologically sterile, containing low amounts of Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. A dysbiotic bacterial community was associated with iNOA and complete germ cell aplasia. Novel findings on testicular BM could support future translational therapies of male-factor infertility. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This work was supported by URI-Urological Research Institute free funds. Authors declared no conflict of interest. © The Author(s) 2018.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1212-1217
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Reproduction
Volume33
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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Azoospermia
Microbiota
Sperm Retrieval
Testis
Bacteroidetes
Germ Cells
Proteobacteria
Microdissection
Actinobacteria
Spermatozoa
Dysbiosis
Metagenome
Conflict of Interest
Bacterial DNA
Orchiectomy
Clostridium
Bacterial Load
Male Infertility
Financial Management
Spermatogenesis

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Testicular microbiome in azoospermic men-first evidence of the impact of an altered microenvironment. / Alfano, M; Ferrarese, R; Locatelli, I; Ventimiglia, E; Ippolito, Silvia; Gallina, P; Cesana, D; Canducci, F; Pagliardini, L; Viganò, P; Clementi, M; Nebuloni, M; Montorsi, F; Salonia, A.

In: Human Reproduction, Vol. 33, No. 7, 2018, p. 1212-1217.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "STUDY QUESTION: Given the relevant role of the extracellular microenvironment in regulating tissue homeostasis, is testicular bacterial microbiome (BM) associated with germ cell aplasia in idiopathic non-obstructive azoospermia (iNOA)? SUMMARY ANSWER: A steady increase of dysbiosis was observed among testis with normal spermatogenesis vs. iNOA with positive sperm retrieval and iNOA with complete germ cell aplasia. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Tissue-associated BM has been reported to be a biologically important extracellular microenvironment component for numerous body habitats, but not yet for the human testis. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: Cross-sectional study, investigating tissue-associated BM in the testis of (i) five men with iNOA and negative sperm retrieval at microdissection testicular sperm extraction (microTESE); (ii) five men with iNOA and positive sperm retrieval at microTESE; and (iii) five normozoospermic men upon orchiectomy. Every testicular specimen was histologically classified and analyzed in terms of bacterial community. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Massive ultra-deep pyrosequencing was applied to investigate testis microbiome. Metagenome was analyzed using Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME). Tissue-associated bacterial load was quantified by digital droplet PCR. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Normozoospermic men showed small amounts of bacteria in the testis, with Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes Proteobacteria as the dominating phyla; iNOA individuals had increased amounts of bacterial DNA (P = 0.02), associated with decreased taxa richness due to the lack of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria (P = 2 × 10−5). Specimens with negative sperm retrieval at microTESE depicted complete germ cell aplasia and a further decrease in terms of Firmicutes and Clostridia (P <0.05), a complete lack of Peptoniphilus asaccharolyticus, but increased amount of Actinobacteria. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: The limited number of specimens analyzed in this preliminary study deserves external validation. The paraneoplastic microenvironment could have an impact on the residential bacterial flora. WIDER IMPLICATION OF THE FINDINGS: Human testicular microenvironment is not microbiologically sterile, containing low amounts of Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. A dysbiotic bacterial community was associated with iNOA and complete germ cell aplasia. Novel findings on testicular BM could support future translational therapies of male-factor infertility. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This work was supported by URI-Urological Research Institute free funds. Authors declared no conflict of interest. {\circledC} The Author(s) 2018.",
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AU - Ferrarese, R

AU - Locatelli, I

AU - Ventimiglia, E

AU - Ippolito, Silvia

AU - Gallina, P

AU - Cesana, D

AU - Canducci, F

AU - Pagliardini, L

AU - Viganò, P

AU - Clementi, M

AU - Nebuloni, M

AU - Montorsi, F

AU - Salonia, A

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N2 - STUDY QUESTION: Given the relevant role of the extracellular microenvironment in regulating tissue homeostasis, is testicular bacterial microbiome (BM) associated with germ cell aplasia in idiopathic non-obstructive azoospermia (iNOA)? SUMMARY ANSWER: A steady increase of dysbiosis was observed among testis with normal spermatogenesis vs. iNOA with positive sperm retrieval and iNOA with complete germ cell aplasia. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Tissue-associated BM has been reported to be a biologically important extracellular microenvironment component for numerous body habitats, but not yet for the human testis. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: Cross-sectional study, investigating tissue-associated BM in the testis of (i) five men with iNOA and negative sperm retrieval at microdissection testicular sperm extraction (microTESE); (ii) five men with iNOA and positive sperm retrieval at microTESE; and (iii) five normozoospermic men upon orchiectomy. Every testicular specimen was histologically classified and analyzed in terms of bacterial community. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Massive ultra-deep pyrosequencing was applied to investigate testis microbiome. Metagenome was analyzed using Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME). Tissue-associated bacterial load was quantified by digital droplet PCR. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Normozoospermic men showed small amounts of bacteria in the testis, with Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes Proteobacteria as the dominating phyla; iNOA individuals had increased amounts of bacterial DNA (P = 0.02), associated with decreased taxa richness due to the lack of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria (P = 2 × 10−5). Specimens with negative sperm retrieval at microTESE depicted complete germ cell aplasia and a further decrease in terms of Firmicutes and Clostridia (P <0.05), a complete lack of Peptoniphilus asaccharolyticus, but increased amount of Actinobacteria. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: The limited number of specimens analyzed in this preliminary study deserves external validation. The paraneoplastic microenvironment could have an impact on the residential bacterial flora. WIDER IMPLICATION OF THE FINDINGS: Human testicular microenvironment is not microbiologically sterile, containing low amounts of Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. A dysbiotic bacterial community was associated with iNOA and complete germ cell aplasia. Novel findings on testicular BM could support future translational therapies of male-factor infertility. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This work was supported by URI-Urological Research Institute free funds. Authors declared no conflict of interest. © The Author(s) 2018.

AB - STUDY QUESTION: Given the relevant role of the extracellular microenvironment in regulating tissue homeostasis, is testicular bacterial microbiome (BM) associated with germ cell aplasia in idiopathic non-obstructive azoospermia (iNOA)? SUMMARY ANSWER: A steady increase of dysbiosis was observed among testis with normal spermatogenesis vs. iNOA with positive sperm retrieval and iNOA with complete germ cell aplasia. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Tissue-associated BM has been reported to be a biologically important extracellular microenvironment component for numerous body habitats, but not yet for the human testis. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: Cross-sectional study, investigating tissue-associated BM in the testis of (i) five men with iNOA and negative sperm retrieval at microdissection testicular sperm extraction (microTESE); (ii) five men with iNOA and positive sperm retrieval at microTESE; and (iii) five normozoospermic men upon orchiectomy. Every testicular specimen was histologically classified and analyzed in terms of bacterial community. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Massive ultra-deep pyrosequencing was applied to investigate testis microbiome. Metagenome was analyzed using Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME). Tissue-associated bacterial load was quantified by digital droplet PCR. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Normozoospermic men showed small amounts of bacteria in the testis, with Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes Proteobacteria as the dominating phyla; iNOA individuals had increased amounts of bacterial DNA (P = 0.02), associated with decreased taxa richness due to the lack of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria (P = 2 × 10−5). Specimens with negative sperm retrieval at microTESE depicted complete germ cell aplasia and a further decrease in terms of Firmicutes and Clostridia (P <0.05), a complete lack of Peptoniphilus asaccharolyticus, but increased amount of Actinobacteria. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: The limited number of specimens analyzed in this preliminary study deserves external validation. The paraneoplastic microenvironment could have an impact on the residential bacterial flora. WIDER IMPLICATION OF THE FINDINGS: Human testicular microenvironment is not microbiologically sterile, containing low amounts of Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. A dysbiotic bacterial community was associated with iNOA and complete germ cell aplasia. Novel findings on testicular BM could support future translational therapies of male-factor infertility. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This work was supported by URI-Urological Research Institute free funds. Authors declared no conflict of interest. © The Author(s) 2018.

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DO - 10.1093/humrep/dey116

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JO - Human Reproduction

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