MOLECULAR GENETIC CHANGES IN THE TESTIS TISSUES OF COVID-19 PATIENTS
Grigory A. Demyashkin, Dmitry V. Boldyrev, Vladimir I. Shchekin, Marianna S. Zhiganova
Despite some progress in studying the impact of COVID-19 infection on the human body, many issues related to emerging pathological processes after the transfer of the disease, as well as the development of the so-called «post-COVID» syndrome, remain unresolved. One such issue is the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on male fertility. The results of previous studies in this direction are contradictory, and therefore at the moment there is no clear evidence of direct damage to male gonads by coronavirus.
... , the hypothesis of potential testicular targeting for SARS-CoV-2 needs to be confirmed. The aim of the study was to assess the molecular genetic profile of samples of testicular tissue preparations from patients with COVID-19. Testicular tissue samples from patients with confirmed COVID-19 (n=96, age 25-91 years) were studied by real-time polymerase chain reaction to determine the expression of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA and genes encoding protein complexes of ACE- 2 and Furin. The exclusion criteria were: mumps, infertility, sepsis, bacterial infection, carriage of HIV, hepatitis B and C, Epstein-Barr. The control of observations (n=20) consisted of archival paraffin blocks of autopsy material of normal testicles, obtained no later than 6 hours after the declaration of biological death, without macroscopic signs of the presence of an inflammatory and / or tumor process, all patients of this subgroup were fertile and had not previously been exposed to toxins or drugs. As a result of the study, in patients affected by COVID-19, the presence of the genetic material of the coronavirus in the testicles was recorded. In addition, an increased expression of ACE-2 and Furin was found in the testicular tissue, which determines favorable conditions for SARS-CoV-2 damage. Thus, based on the results of PCR testing of testicular tissue preparations for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA, assessment of the expression of ACE-2 and Furin, it is possible to assert with a high probability the potential targeting him on male germ cells, Sertoli and Leydig cells.