New study finds that Ibuprofen, a popular painkiller, alters human testicular physiology
According to a new study, men that are regularly taking Ibuprofen, a common over-the-counter painkillers are at risk of infertility, a common problem in Nigeria and across the world.
Thestudy published Monday inProceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesfound that regular ibuprofen use may lead to compensated hypogonadism, a condition that can lead to infertility, erectile dysfunction, depression and loss of bone and muscle mass, among other symptoms. The condition is most commonly seen in smokers and the elderly, but the new research suggests it can affect young men, too.
Concern has been raised over declining male reproductive health in humans. The study addressed this issue by extending data showing antiandrogen effects of analgesics and suggests that such compounds may be involved in adult male reproductive problems.
The researchers recruited 31 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 35. Fourteen of the men took two 600-milligram doses of ibuprofen per day for six weeks — an amount consistent with what many athletes take to manage aches and pains — while the remaining 17 took placebo pills. Ibuprofen is the generic name for drugs including Advil and Motrin. Tylenol, meanwhile, is a brand name for a different drug, acetaminophen.
“Using a unique combination of a randomized, controlled clinical trial and ex vivo and in vitro approaches, we report a univocal depression of important aspects of testicular function, including testosterone production, after use of over-the-counter ibuprofen,” the researchers stated.
The study shows that ibuprofen use results in selective transcriptional repression of endocrine cells in the human testis. This repression results in the elevation of the stimulatory pituitary hormones, resulting in a state of compensated hypogonadism, a disorder associated with adverse reproductive and physical health disorders.
In young men exposed to ibuprofen, the study showed that the analgesic resulted in the clinical condition named “compensated hypogonadism,” a condition prevalent among elderly men and associated with reproductive and physical disorders.
“Luteinizing hormone (LH) and ibuprofen plasma levels were positively correlated, and the testosterone/LH ratio decreased,” the researchers reported.
Using adult testis explants exposed or not exposed to ibuprofen, the study demonstrated that the endocrine capabilities from testicular Leydig and Sertoli cells, including testosterone production, were suppressed through transcriptional repression. This effect was also observed in a human steroidogenic cell line. Our data demonstrate that ibuprofen alters the endocrine system via selective transcriptional repression in the human testes, thereby inducing compensated hypogonadism.