Zika Virus Damages The Testicles

Posted: Nov 1 2016, 1:35pm CDT | by , Updated: Nov 1 2016, 10:51pm CDT , in Latest Science News

Zika Virus Damages the Testicles of Male
The testicles of male mice showed cellular damage and shrinkage three weeks after Zika infection. On the left is a healthy mouse testicle; on the right, a testicle following Zika infection. Credit: Prabagaran Esakky
  • Zika Virus Targets the Male Reproductive System
  • Zika Infection Causes Infertility and Lowers Levels of Sex Hormone in Males

The Zika Virus causes among other things, infertility. It also lowers levels of the sex hormone, testosterone, in male rodents.

The majority of studies have concentrated on how the Zika Virus affects pregnancy in women. Yet the effects it has on males has hardly been delved into by researchers. A novel study on male mice has shown that it causes hurdles in their ability to have children.

The reproductive system is especially deeply disturbed thanks to this virus. Less than a month into the onset of the virus in male mice, it caused their testicles to contract. The sex hormones also declined and fertility was damaged as a result.

The male mice were not able to impregnate female mice. The study was published in the journal Nature.

What we don’t know yet is whether the Zika Virus has the same effect in male human beings. It is after all a long way from rodents to men. Yet the fact is that there may be some pretty detrimental effects in ordinary men too.

The virus remains extant in the semen of men for many months. The CDC has recommended that males who enter a Zika-infected nation ought to employ contraceptives every time they have sex during the six months they remain there.

The virus has deleterious effects on reproductive systems, be they those of males or females for that matter. In the study, male mice were injected with the Zika Virus.

After seven days, the virus had traveled to the testes of the mice. These testes were furthermore subject to inflammation. After a fortnight, the testes were tinier than before and their internal features were under lysis. Many of the cells of the testes were dying and undergoing collapse.

After about three weeks, most of the testes had disintegrated. They were 1/10th their previous size. After six weeks, these badly damaged testes still did not heal although by now the virus had been flushed from the bodies of the rodents.

Most of the internal damage was irreversible. The female mice that were matched with the testes-damaged mice were four times less likely to get impregnated than those females that were paired with normal male rodents.

This is the only virus that damages the virility of the male mice in such a devastating manner. The Zika Virus leaves the male mice without the capacity to have children from even normal females.

This was the case although the virus had long since left their frames. Such is the nature of the permanent damage inflicted by this nasty illness.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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