African Strain Of Zika Virus Severely Damages Testes In Mice – Concern For Men
Zika Virus Damages Testes In Mice
The study “Zika virus infection damages the testes in mice” was published in Nature online on October 31, 2016. It raises questions about Zika’s effect on the reproductive system of men.
The main focus of the effects of Zika virus has been with women. The Zika virus (ZIKV) can cause the microcephaly birth defect that interferes with normal brain development of the unborn child. The focus will likely shift to include the effects Zika can have on the fertility of men.
The study used African and Asian strain of the Zika virus and the related dengue virus. The African strain of the Ziki virus caused severe damage to the testes of male mice and diminished testosterone and inhibin B levels, and oligospermia (low sperm concentration). The damage caused by the Asian strain was less severe, while the dengue virus did not appear to infect the testes.
Zika specifically targeted spermatogonia which are cells produced in the early formation of spermatozoa or sperm cells. The virus also targeted primary spermatocytes, and Sertoli cells in the testis of mice, and killed cells of the seminiferous tubules where sperm cells were made.
The researchers indicated the Zika virus caused the mice testes to shrink by 90% in weight. The sperm output also dropped three times on average.
Though Zika is thought to spread primarily by mosquitoes, it is also spread sexually through infected sperm.
Zika Virus And Fertility In Men
The lead researcher, Michael Diamond, said the damage to the testes of mice does appear to be permanent. He also said he couldn’t generalize the findings to men because men and mice are not the same. Michael Diamond did say the Zika virus has been shown to infect men’s reproductive system though.
On a positive note Zika researcher Shannan Rossi of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston indicated the researchers suppressed the immune system of the mice.
They intentionally reduced the mice’s ability to fight against the virus to see what that the uninhibited virus could do.
Zika And Target Populations
It would appear African males in Africa are at the most risk of infertility because the mosquitoes there would be primarily infected with the African strain of the Zika virus. This would severely target and limit Africans’ ability to reproduce, and to produce healthy babies.
Fortunately a strong immune system serves as a way to combat and limit the effects of the Zika virus and any other illness.
Develop A Strong Immune System
The body has an amazing immune system that produces white blood cells and antibodies that bind to viruses and destroy them. You support a strong immune system by minimizing the amount of pathogens and toxins you put into body. Constantly loading the body with pathogens and toxins overwhelms the immune system and reduces its ability to combat disease.
The consumption of meat, dairy, and processed foods introduces pathogens and toxins into the body that compromise the immune system. Removing the consumption of these foods removes stress put on the immune system and allows it to function more efficiently.
Alkaline plant food is also loaded with nutrients the body uses to support the immune system, and to support the healthy function of organs.