Past Issue

Volume 14, Number 1, Apr-Jun 2020 Pages: 46-50

Presence of The NLRP3 Inflammasome Components in Semen of Varicocele Patients

Maryam Baazm, Ph.D, 1, *, Ali Asghar Ghafarizadeh, Ph.D, 2, Ali Reza Noshad Kamran, M.D, 3, Cordian Beyer, Ph.D, 4, Adib Zendedel, Ph.D, 4, 5,
Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran
Infertility Center of ACECR, Arak, Iran
Department of Urology, School of Medicine, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran
Institute of Neuroanatomy, RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany
Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
*Corresponding Address: P.O.Box: 3848176941 Department of Anatomy School of Medicine Arak University of Medical Sciences Arak Iran



Varicocele is a common cause of male infertility with multifactorial etiology. Inflammation is a characteristic pathological event that occurs in the testis tissue following the varicocele. The aim of this study was to investigate expression of nod-like receptor family, pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome components and cytokines in semen of varicocele and control subjects.

Materials and Methods

In this case-control study, seminal plasma was collected from 32 varicocele patients (with grades 2 and 3) and 20 fertile men as control group. Semen analysis was performed in all subjects. Concentrations of interleukin-1b (IL-1b), IL-18 and caspase-1 in seminal plasma were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase activation and recruitment domain, in addition to NALP3 were identified in seminal plasma by Western blot. Statistical significance between the mean values was determined by student’s t test.


According to our data, the level of IL-1b was significantly (P=0.03) increased in the seminal plasma of varicocele patients, compared to the control subjects. We analyzed amount of IL-18 in the both groups. The level of this interleukin was markedly (P=0.002) decreased in varicocele patients. No change was observed in the level of caspase-1 in both groups. Western blot analysis revealed that apoptosis associated speck-like protein (ASC, P=0.0002) and NLRP3 (P=0.005) were significantly elevated in the semen of varicocele patients.


This study provides the first evidence of activation of NLRP3 components in semen of men with varicocele.