Objective: To evaluate semen parameters and measure serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and testosterone (T) concentrations before and 7 days after packed red cell transfusion (PCTx) in adults with sickle cell disease (SCD). Methods: This prospective study investigated 18 young adults with transfusion-dependent SCD, aged 20.7 +/- 2.88 years, with full pubertal development (Tanner's stage 5) (euogonadal), and capacity to ejaculate. Their serum ferritin levels were 1488 +/- 557ng/ml. Basal serum concentrations of FSH, LH, T and IGF-I were evaluated before and 7 days after packed red cell transfusion (PCTx). We studied the effect of PCTx on semen parameters and the endocrine functions in these 18 patients with SCD. Results: Following PCTx, a significant increase of Hb from 8.5 +/- 1.17 g/dl to 10.5 +/- 0.4 g/dl was associated with increased testosterone (12.3 +/- 1.24 nmol/L to 14.23 +/- 1.22nmol/L and gonadotropin concentrations. Total sperm count increased significantly from 87.4 +/- 24.6 million/ml to 146.2 +/- 51.25 million/ml total progressive sperm motility (TPM) from 40.8 +/- 11.1 million/ml to 93.4 +/- 38.3 million/ml, and rapid progressive sperm motility progressive motility (RPM) increased from 29.26 +/- 8.75 million/ml to 67.4 +/- 29 million/ml. After PCTx the total sperm count, TPM and RPM were significantly higher in the ETx group versus the TTx group. Before and after PCTx, testosterone concentrations were correlated significantly with sperm total count, volume, TPM and RPM (r= 0.53, 0.55, 0.42 and 0.38 respectively, p= 0.01). Before and after PCTx, hemoglobin concentrations were correlated significantly with sperm count, TPM, RPM and percentage of sperms with normal morphology (r= 0.60, 0.69, 0.66 and 0.86 respectively, p <0.001) Conclusion: Our study suggests that in males with SCD, blood transfusion associated with significant acute enhancement of sperm parameters and with an increased concentration of testosterone, LH and FSH. Improvements of sperm parameters were significantly higher in the exchange transfusion (ETx) group versus the top-up (TTx) group. These 'acute' effects on spermatogenesis are reached with an unknown mechanism(s) and suggest a number of pathways that need further human and/or experimental studies.


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