May 24, 2024
Adolescent Stress

Adolescent Stress: A Potential Threat to Fertility in Adulthood – New Study on Rats Reveals Long-Term Reproductive Consequences

New research presented at the 26th European Congress of Endocrinology suggests that chronic stress experienced during adolescence may negatively impact fertility in adulthood. The study, conducted by researchers from the V.P. Komisarenko Institute of Endocrinology and Metabolism of the National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, sheds light on the potential long-term repercussions of early-life stress on reproductive health.

During adolescence, Hormone Replacement Therapy  imbalances can occur due to stress, leading to disruptions in puberty and the reproductive system. These disruptions can impact libido, ovulation function, and sperm cell production. However, the long-term reproductive effects of chronic stress during adolescence are not well understood.

To investigate this further, the researchers exposed male and female rats to stress during adolescence by placing them in enclosed spaces for one hour every morning for two weeks (30-45 days old). They found that females experienced a delay in sexual maturity, while males gained weight more slowly than their non-stressed counterparts.

In adulthood, the male rats who had been exposed to chronic stress during adolescence had a 25.9% reduction in sperm count, with some sperm displaying abnormal shapes and reduced motility. The breathing process by which sperm cells derive energy also slowed down. Furthermore, these males had almost two times lower levels of corticosterone, the main stress hormone in rats, equivalent to cortisol in humans.

Professor Aleksander Reznikov, the lead investigator, stated, “Our work is the first to report that even moderate and repetitive stress in adolescence has a long-lasting negative impact on the endocrine system of reproduction and adaptation of the body to changing living conditions.”

The researchers also discovered increased lipid peroxidation in the ovaries and testes, which may need further investigation. Professor Reznikov added, “Our results make it possible to predict the development of anomalies in reproduction and bodily adaptation systems and are the basis for finding methods for their prevention.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public Source, Desk Research
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