Changes in the seminal plasma proteome of adolescents before and after varicocelectomy

Varicocelectomy is associated with changes in the seminal plasma protein profile. These proteins may be important in the follow-up of patients with varicocele.


Paula Toni Del Giudice, M.Sc., Barbara Ferreira da Silva, M.Sc., Edson Guimarães Lo Turco, D.V.M., Ph.D., Renato Fraietta, M.D., Ph.D., Deborah Montagnini Spaine, Ph.D., Luiz Fernando Arruda Santos, Ph.D., Eduardo Jorge Pilau, Ph.D., Fabio Cesar Gozzo, Ph.D., Agnaldo Pereira Cedenho, M.D., Ph.D., Ricardo Pimenta Bertolla, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Volume 100, Issue 3, Pages 667-672, September 2013



To compare seminal plasma protein profiles before and after varicocele correction to assess if surgical intervention alters the protein profile.


Prospective study.


Academic research environment.


Nineteen adolescent boys with varicocele grades II or III.


Two semen samples were collected before bilateral subinguinal microsurgical varicocelectomy, and two semen samples were collected 3 months after surgery. Seminal plasma protein profiles were determined with the use of two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Proteins were separated in 18-cm 3–10 pH strips and 10%–17.5% gradient gels. Gels were stained, scanned, and compared with the use of Imagemaster 2D platinum 7.0. Spots of interest were removed from gels, and protein digestion was performed with the use of trypsin. Digests were identified with the use of electrospray ionization-quadrupole/time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-QTOF MS/MS), and spectra were analyzed with the use of the Mascot software.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Proteins uniquely or overexpressed in each period (before or after varicocelectomy).


Nineteen spots were differentially expressed between pre- and postsurgery samples. Identified proteins were albumin, proteasome subunit alpha type 6, alpha-1-antitrypsin, fibronectin, CD177, prostatic acid phosphatase, specific prostatic antigen, alpha-2-antiplasmin, vitamin D–binding protein, gastricsin, clusterin, semenogelin-1, semenogelin-2, superoxide dismutase, protein–glutamine gamma glutamyltransferase-4, and prolactin-inducing protein.


Varicocelectomy is associated with changes in the seminal plasma protein profile. Understanding specific pathways leading to male infertility may further assist physicians in demonstrating deviation from homeostasis in male infertility. In addition, it may be possible to observe if surgical intervention does indeed revert altered pathways toward a homeostatic state.

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