The coronavirus infection mainly causes damage to the lung and immune system, but in theory, it may cause testicular damage. Therefore, novel coronavirus pneumonia, a team member of the age group, is recommended by Li Yufeng, Professor of reproductive medicine center of Tongji Hospital, Huazhong University of Science and Technology.
The coronavirus invades cells through binding of spike glycoprotein (S protein) to host cell angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), causing tissue damage. In addition to lung, ACE2 is also expressed in many other organs, such as testis, small intestine, kidney, heart, and thyroid.
Among them, the testis expressed a large number of ACE2, mainly concentrated in spermatogonia, Sertoli cells, and stromal cells, which were closely related to male reproductive function.
Seminiferous tubules, also known as seminiferous tubules, are the site of spermatogenesis. There are spermatogenic cells and supporting cells at all levels, and there are interstitial cells between seminiferous tubules.
Spermatogonia are the precursor cells for sperm formation; supporting cells are essential for maintaining the microenvironment of sperm development, and adult supporting cells are no longer divided, and the number is constant; stromal cells are the main cells for the synthesis and secretion of androgens, which can promote spermatogenesis and the development of male reproductive organs, as well as maintain the second sexual sign and sexual function of men.
Although there is no study to confirm whether the infection of new coronavirus damages testis and affects male fertility, it is highly similar to SARS, and its receptor of infection invading cells is the same, namely ACE2.
Although SARS has not been detected in testis, SARS infection can still cause severe immune damage to testis, orchitis and extensive destruction of reproductive cells.
Therefore, theoretically, coronavirus may cause testicular damage, affect spermatogenesis and androgen synthesis. Spermatogenesis is blocked, which will affect male fertility and even lead to male infertility; androgen deficiency will affect male secondary sexual characteristics and sexual function, and reduce the quality of life.
Therefore, for men with a history of infection, especially those with reproductive needs, it is better to carry out fertility-related tests such as semen quality and hormone level after rehabilitation, so as to find out problems in time and deal with them as soon as possible.