Ibuprofen Use Could Be Linked to Male Reproductive Disorders
News Jan 10, 2018 | by Laura Elizabeth Mason, Science Writer, Technology Networks
New research indicates that analgesic compounds, such as ibuprofen, may be associated with male reproductive problems.
Decline in male reproductive health has been a growing concern in recent years. It has been proposed that disruption to male endocrinology may be behind the observed increase in male reproductive disorders.1,2 Researchers recently conducted a study to investigate the effects of ibuprofen on the pituitary–testis axis in young males. The findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).3
The researchers used a combination of interconnected techniques, to investigate the effect of ibuprofen on endocrinology in male participants during a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, ex vivo and in vitro approaches were also performed to support and validate findings.
The randomized controlled trial indicated that ibuprofen use in men led to:
a) an increase in luteinizing hormone (LH)
b) a decreased testosterone/LH ratio
c) a decreased inhibin B/FSH ratio
d) a reduction in Sertoli cell hormone AMH levels.
The observed reduction in the testosterone/LH ratio was due to an elevation in LH. There was a reduction in testicular responsiveness to gonadotropins throughout exposure to ibuprofen.
Through selective repression of gene expression, ibuprofen induced a state of ‘compensated hypogonadism’ by altering hormonal profiles. Compensated hypogonadism can result in a temporary decrease in sperm production, directly impacting fertility in the short-term. A greater concern is the potential for compensated hypogonadism to progress to overt primary hypogonadism, which is associated with a range of symptoms, including; depressed mood, fatigue, reduced libido, muscle mass and strength.
Additional studies are required to determine whether prolonged use of ibuprofen results in the development of overt primary hypogonadism.
1. Bonde JP, et al. (2016) The epidemiologic evidence linking prenatal and postnatal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals with male reproductive disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Hum Reprod Update 23:104–125.
2. Skakkebaek NE, et al. (2016) Male reproductive disorders and fertility trends: Influences of environment and genetic susceptibility. Physiol Rev 96:55–97.
3. Kristensen. DM, et al. (2018) Ibuprofen alters human testicular physiology to produce a state of compensated hypogonadism. PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1715035115