Early weight loss may protect future fertility in obese young boys
Reproductive function in obese boys could be improved through weight loss, which could protect their fertility in adulthood, according to a study presented today at 59e Annual meeting of the European Society of Pediatric Endocrinology. The study suggests that even after short-term weight loss, impairments in reproductive function may be partially reversed in obese young boys. This indicates that early management of childhood obesity could help prevent future fertility problems in men.
Childhood obesity can have profound effects on future health in adulthood, including an increased risk of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Obesity has also been linked to fertility problems in children. men and women. The most common causes of fertility problems in men are usually semen abnormalities or low sperm count. Leydig cells in the testes become active at puberty to produce the main male hormone, testosterone.
Sertoli cells in the testes are essential for the production of healthy sperm and produce several reproductive hormones which are essential for sperm maturation. Previous work has shown early impairment of Sertoli cell function in obese boys from the age of 12, with later impairment of Leydig cell function from the age of 14. However, whether weight loss could reverse the impaired function of these cells had not been studied.
In this study, Dr Solène Rérat and her colleagues at Angers University Hospital in France investigated how a 12-week weight loss educational program in 34 boys, aged 10 to 18, affected markers of cell function. Leydig and Sertoli, as well as metabolism.
The boys ate a healthy and balanced diet, engaged in physical activity for at least 1 hour per day, according to international recommendations, and had weekly individual sessions with a dietician. Before and after the program, reproductive hormone levels, body fat composition, and blood sugar were measured for comparison. Over the course of 12 weeks, the boys significantly lost weight and improved their insulin levels, as well as their testosterone levels. No significant changes were found in markers of Sertoli cell function. Since fat cells produce an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen, the actual loss of fat mass may be part of the increase in testosterone levels, in addition to the reversal of impaired Leydig cell function.
These results highlight the need to consider childhood obesity as a factor in future fertility problems. We strongly recommend that early management of childhood obesity is needed to reverse these impairments and help prevent future reproductive problems, as well as reduce the risk of other debilitating diseases. “
Dr Solène Rérat, Angers University Hospital, France
The team now plans to measure the reproductive function of the longer-term group and expand it to include more participants in order to collect more data to confirm and extend these findings.
Dr Rérat cautions: “Our study only evaluated the effects in a small number of obese boys after a 12-week therapeutic education program. Further studies with longer follow-up are needed to help us fully investigate the effect of weight reduction on reproductive function ”.
European Society of Pediatric Endocrinology