Possible Cause of Male Infertility
Now, researchers from Swedens Karolinska Institutet1 have identified a possible cause in men with a condition that increases the risk of developing autoimmune diseasethats where the immune system attacks and damages healthy cells. Infertility is common in both sexes with the disease, called autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 1 (APS1).
Although it was previously known that APS1 acted against the ovaries in women, how the disease affected males was unknown. To learn more, researchers examined 93 men and women with APS1.
In a large group of patients, the immune system reacted to a protein formed only in the prostate, which is critical in male reproduction. This reaction first appeared at the onset of puberty, once the prostate gland had matured.
Although the findings point to a new disease mechanism in male fertility for a subset of men, more work is needed to understand any significance to infertility in the male population at large.
1. Landegren N. et al. Science Translational Medicine. 2015;7(292):pp292ra101.