Reproductive function in male patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

PMID 26446574


This study was undertaken to evaluate conventional and some of the main bio-functional spermatozoa parameters, serum gonadal hormones and didymo-epididymal ultrasound features in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM1). DM1 affects an increasing number of men of reproductive age. Diabetes may affect male reproduction by acting on the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis, causing sexual dysfunction or disrupting male accessory gland function. However, data on spermatozoa parameters and other aspects of the reproductive function in these patients are scanty. Thirty-two patients with DM1 [27.0 (25.0-30.0 years)] and 20 age-matched fertile healthy men [28.0 (27.25-30.75 years)] were enrolled. Patients with diabetic neuropathy, other endocrine disorders or conditions known to alter spermatozoa parameters were excluded. Each subject underwent semen analysis, blood withdrawal for fasting and post-prandial glycaemia, hormonal analysis and didymo-epididymal ultrasound evaluation before and after ejaculation. Patients with DM1 had a lower percentage of spermatozoa with progressive motility [10.0 (7.0-12.75) vs. 45.0 (42.0-47.75) %; p < 0.01] and a higher percentage of spermatozoa with abnormal mitochondrial function than controls [47.0 (43.0-55.0) vs. 2.0 (1.0-5.0) %; p < 0.01]. Patients also had greater post-ejaculatory diameters of cephalic [11.5 (10.2-13.6) vs. 6.0 (4.0-7.0) mm; p < 0.01] and caudal epididymis [5.5 (4.00-7.55) vs. 3.0 (2.0-4.0) mm; p < 0.01] compared to controls, suggesting a lack of the physiological post-ejaculation epididymal shrinkage. Correlation analysis suggested that progressive motility was associated with fasting glucose (r = -0.68; p < 0.01). The other parameters did not show any significant difference. Patients with DM1 had a lower percentage of spermatozoa with progressive motility, impaired mitochondrial function and epididymal post-ejaculatory dysfunction. These findings may explain why patients with DM1 experience fertility disturbance. Larger multi-centric studies are necessary to confirm these results.