Biomedicines. 2022 Mar 31;10(4):820. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines10040820.
BACKGROUND: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may affect testicles. Lower testosterone levels have been associated with worse clinical outcomes and higher mortality. Our objective was to evaluate the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis of men admitted with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia and its link with the pneumonia-treatment intensification. Short-term changes in hormonal parameters were also assessed.
METHODS: Men admitted with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia were recruited in two different hospitals in Piedmont, Italy. In all patients, the assessment of total testosterone (TT), calculated free testosterone (cFT), gonadotropins, inhibin B (InhB), and other biochemical evaluations were performed at admission (T0) and before discharge (T1). Through a review of medical records, clinical history was recorded, including data on pneumonia severity.
RESULTS: Thirty-five men (median age 64 [58-74] years) were recruited. Lower TT and cFT levels at T0 were associated with CPAP therapy (p = 0.045 and 0.028, respectively), even after adjusting for age and PaO2/FIO2 ratio in a multivariable analysis. In those discharged alive, lower TT and cFT levels were associated with longer hospital stay (p < 0.01). TT, cFT, and InhB were below the normal range at T0 and significantly increased at T1 (TT 1.98 [1.30-2.72] vs. 2.53 [1.28-3.37] ng/mL, p = 0.038; cFT (0.0441 [0.0256-0.0742] vs. 0.0702 [0.0314-0.0778] ng/mL, p = 0.046; InhB 60.75 [25.35-88.02] vs. 77.05 [51.15-134.50], p < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Both TT and cFT levels are associated with adverse clinical outcomes in men admitted with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia. As TT, cFT and InhB levels increase before discharge, short-term functional recovery of steroidogenesis and an indirect improvement of spermatozoa functional status could be hypothesized.