COVID-19 potentially has negative impacts on male fertility

If calls for masking and distancing aren’t strong enough to change your thinking, the new review about Covid-19 and male fertility may do just that.

photo credit: Specimen News

A review recently published in the Journal of Medical Virology has discussed some of the effects that infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – the agent that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – may have on male fertility.

In the paper, Cemile Seymen from Gazi University Institute of Health Sciences, in Ankara, Turkey, summarizes study findings showing how the infection can negatively affect male reproductive health.

Seymen says further studies are needed to investigate the roles that the host cell proteins angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) may play in infection since both of these proteins, which are involved in viral entry, are highly expressed in the male reproductive system.Study: The other side of COVID-19 pandemic: Effects on male fertility. Image Credit: Blackboard / Shutterstock

Very little data are available on the effects of COVID-19 on male fertility

Since SARS-CoV-2 was first identified in Wuhan, China, late last year (2019), studies have shown that the virus not only causes respiratory disease but can affect various different organs, including those of the male reproductive system.

“There is a very limited number of data about the effects of COVID-19 on male fertility, so it has become an important topic for researchers,” says Seymen.

ACE2 is highly expressed in the male genital tract

To gain viral entry, SARS-CoV-2 uses a surface structure called the spike protein to bind to the ACE2 receptor present on host cells.

One study published earlier this year showed that ACE2 messenger RNA was expressed in both germ and somatic cells of the testis. Other studies have found that ACE2 is expressed in spermatogonia, Leydig cells, and Sertoli cells.

Credit: News Medical Life Science

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