Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus has been known to damage multiple organs; however, little is known about its impact on the reproductive system. In the present study, we analyzed the pathological changes of testes from six patients who died of SARS. Results suggested that SARS caused orchitis. All SARS testes displayed widespread germ cell destruction, few or no spermatozoon in the seminiferous tubule, thickened basement membrane, and leukocyte infiltration. The numbers of CD3 T lymphocytes and CD68 macrophages increased significantly in the interstitial tissue compared with the control group (P < 0.05). SARS viral genomic sequences were not detected in the testes by in situ hybridization. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated abundant IgG precipitation in the seminiferous epithelium of SARS testes, indicating possible immune response as the cause for the damage. Our findings indicated that orchitis is a complication of SARS. It further suggests that the reproductive functions should be followed and evaluated in recovered male SARS patients.
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