Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Stress due to coronavirus can also affect sperm quality. Pixabay

Prolonged fear and anxiety owing to stressors like the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can not only take a toll on a person’s mental health but also have a lasting impact on sperm composition that could affect future offspring, warn researchers.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, outlines a biological mechanism for how a father’s experience with stress can influence fetal brain development in the womb.


According to the researchers, the effects of paternal stress can be transferred to offspring through changes in the extracellular vesicles that then interact with maturing sperm. Extracellular vesicles are small membrane-bound particles that transport proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids between cells.


Prolonged fear and anxiety owing to stressors like the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can not only take a toll on a person’s mental health. Pixabay

They are produced in large amounts in the reproductive tract and play an integral role in sperm maturation.

“Properly managing stress can not only improve mental health and other stress-related ailments, but it can also help reduce the potential lasting impact on the reproductive system that could impact future generations,” said study researcher Tracy Bale from University of Maryland in the US.

To examine a novel biological role for extracellular vesicles in transferring dad’s stress to sperm, the researchers examined extracellular vesicles from mice following treatment with the stress hormone corticosterone.

After treatment, the extracellular vesicles showed dramatic changes in their overall size as well as their protein and small RNA content.

When sperm were incubated with these previously “stressed” extracellular vesicles prior to fertilizing an egg, the resulting mouse pups showed significant changes in patterns of early brain development, and as adults these mice were also significantly different than controls for how they responded to stress themselves.

To see if similar differences occurred in human sperm, the researchers recruited students to donate sperm each month for six months, and complete questionnaires about their perceived stress state in the preceding month.

They found that students who had experienced elevated stress in months prior showed significant changes in the small RNA content of their sperm, while those who had no change in stress levels experienced little or no change.


To see if similar differences occurred in human sperm, the researchers recruited students to donate sperm each month for six months, and complete questionnaires about their perceived stress state in the preceding month. Pixabay

These data confirm a very similar pattern found in the mouse study.

“Our study shows that the baby’s brain develops differently if the father experienced a chronic period of stress before conception, but we still do not know the implications of these differences,” said Bale.

According to the researchers, stress-induced changes in the male reproductive system take place at least a month after the stress is attenuated and life has resumed its normal patterns.

“It is important to realize that social distancing does not have to mean social isolation, especially with modern technologies available to many of us,” said Joshua Gordon, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health in his web message about coping with coronavirus.

Also Read- Current Pandemic Set to Hit Financial Performance in Q1 2020: Twitter

“Connecting with our friends and loved ones, whether by high tech means or through simple phone calls, can help us maintain ties during stressful days ahead and will give us strength to weather this difficult passage”. (IANS)


Popular

VOA

In this file illustration photo taken Aug. 12, 2021, the Facebook logo is shown on a smartphone in front of a computer screen in Los Angeles

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook critics pounced Wednesday on a report that the social network plans to rename itself, arguing it may be seeking to distract from recent scandals and controversy.

The report from tech news website The Verge, which Facebook refused to confirm, said the embattled company was aiming to show its ambition to be more than a social media site.

Keep Reading Show less
VOA

Surgeons attached a pig kidney to a pair of large blood vessels outside the body of a deceased recipient so they could observe it for two days, and the kidney did what it was supposed to do.

Scientists temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for lifesaving transplants.

Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but among the hurdles: A sugar in pig cells, foreign to the human body, causes immediate organ rejection. The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited animal, engineered to eliminate that sugar and avoid an immune system attack.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Killer Smog in Delhi.

Developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, a Decision Support System (DSS) that extends the ability of the existing air quality early warning system (AQEWS) to have decision-making capability for air quality management in Delhi-NCR was launched on Tuesday.

The website for the DSS (https://ews.tropmet.res.in/dss/) is designed to help the Commission for Air Quality Management for NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) by delivering quantitative information about the contribution of emissions from Delhi and its 19 surrounding districts; the contribution of emissions from eight different sectors in Delhi; and the contribution from biomass-burning activities in the neighbouring states.

These information would assist in managing the air quality in a timely manner, a release from the Ministry of Earth Sciences said.

The need was stated by the CAQM, which was formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, during a meeting held in January 2021.

Recently, the Commission reviewed the progress made by IITM and had in principle approved the current version of DSS for air quality management in the Delhi-NCR. The IITM has also developed a new website for DSS with the entire system made operational, the release said.

Union Minister of State for Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh, while launching the website for AQEWS on the occasion of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' week organised by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said, "DSS is a significant contribution to 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' on behalf of MoES and IITM and suggestions are invited on this issue."

The website also has a feature whereby the users can create their own emission reduction scenarios (from 20 different districts, including Delhi) so as to examine the possible projected improvement in air quality in Delhi for the next five days.

"This information would explicitly highlight the most important emission sources responsible for the degradation of air quality in Delhi and suggest possible solutions to ameliorate the same. With a plethora of quantitative data, the AQEWS integrated with DSS could become a user-friendly tool for air-quality management in and around Delhi," the release said. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Delhi, India, Pollution, IITM, Ministry of Earth Sciences