Tuesday, April 14, 2020

COVID-19: effects on reproduction


In this post, I will be talking about effects of SARS-CoV-2 on the male reproductive system, as evidenced from a recent study.

First of all, let us know the basics.
We know that the virus mainly enters into the target cells through ACE-2 receptors and cellular serine protease TMPRSS-2.
Now, ACE-2 is found in a large numbers in spermatogonia, leydig cells and sertoli cells, whereas TMPRSS-2 mainly exists in the spermatogonia and spermatids.

The study shows high levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) in the serum of COVID-19 patients. But the ratio of T:LH and that of FSH:LH were found to be significantly decreased.

Moreover, PRL levels were also found to be increased in COVID-19 patients as compared to that in control groups. Now as we know that high PRL may lead to pituitary suppression and decreased gonadotropins, serum LH still increased with low testosterone to LH ratio, thus pointing towards abnormal testicular function.

There is also an association of C-Reactive protein levels and testicular dysfunction.

However, it is important to note that this is still a topic of debate and not at all conclusive. SARS was found to cause orchitis, but does SARS-CoV-2 lead to the same results, is not clear.

That's all
- Jaskunwar Singh

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