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COVID-19 disrupts spermatogenesis through the oxidative stress pathway following induction of apoptosis

Authors
  • Moghimi, Negin1
  • Eslami Farsani, Bahram2
  • Ghadipasha, Masoud3
  • Mahmoudiasl, Gholam-Reza3
  • Piryaei, Abbas1, 1
  • Aliaghaei, Abbas1
  • Abdi, Shabnam4
  • Abbaszadeh, Hojjat-Allah1
  • Abdollahifar, Mohammad-Amin1
  • Forozesh, Mehdi3
  • 1 Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences,
  • 2 Torbat Heydarieh University of Medical Sciences,
  • 3 Iranian Legal Medicine Organization,
  • 4 Islamic Azad University,
Type
Published Article
Journal
APOPTOSIS
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Jun 02, 2021
Pages
1–16
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10495-021-01680-2
PMID: 34076792
PMCID: PMC8170653
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Article
License
Unknown

Abstract

To evaluate the incidence of apoptosis within the testes of patients who died from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (COVID-19) complications, testis tissue was collected from autopsies of COVID-19 positive (n = 6) and negative men (n = 6). They were then taken for histopathological experiments, and RNA extraction, to examine the expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), transmembrane protease, serine 2 (TMPRSS2), BAX, BCL2 and Caspase3 genes. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and glutathione disulfide (GSH) activity were also thoroughly examined. Autopsied testicular specimens of COVID-19 showed that COVID-19 infection significantly decreased the seminiferous tubule length, interstitial tissue and seminiferous tubule volume, as well as the number of testicular cells. An analysis of the results showed that the Johnsen expressed a reduction in the COVID-19 group when compared to the control group. Our data showed that the expression of ACE2, BAX and Caspase3 were remarkably increased as well as a decrease in the expression of BCL2 in COVID-19 cases. Although, no significant difference was found for TMPRSS2. Furthermore, the results signified an increase in the formation of ROS and suppression of the GSH activity as oxidative stress biomarkers. The results of immunohistochemistry and TUNEL assay showed that the expression of ACE2 and the number of apoptotic cells significantly increased in the COVID-19 group. Overall, this study suggests that COVID-19 infection causes spermatogenesis disruption, probably through the oxidative stress pathway and subsequently induces apoptosis.

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