The herpesvirus family comprises several widespread infectious pathogens. They infect a variety of animal hosts, including humans and cause complex clinical outcomes. Recently, the possible correlation between genital infection by human herpesviruses (HHVs) and male infertility has attracted considerable attention. In this chaper, we investigated the mechanism of HHV‐1‐induced infertility in transgenic (Tg) rats and its possible correlation with infertility in human males. Ectopic expression of HHV‐1 thymidine kinase (TK) in the testis of Tg rats increased male infertility. In addition, truncated TK proteins were found in postmeiotic spermatids of Tg rat testis, leading to progressive degeneration of germ cells and vacuolization of the seminiferous epithelium. These findings suggest the possibility that a similar process occurs within HHV‐infected human germ cells.
Part of the book: Herpesviridae