The effects of type 1 diabetes on the hypothalamic, pituitary and testes axis

Erica L. Schoeller, Samantha Schon, Kelle H. Moley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder characterized by a lack of insulin production by the beta cells of the pancreas. This lack of insulin causes a variety of systemic effects on whole-body metabolism. Poorly managed type 1 diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetic neuropathy, and diabetic retinopathy. Increasingly, even well-managed type 1 diabetic patients show damage to peripheral organs related to complications from the disease. The central role of insulin in energy homeostasis also renders it an important signaling factor in the reproductive tract. type 1 diabetes has now been demonstrated to cause defects in sperm and testes. The aim of this review is to present the known effects of insulin's role in the function of the male reproductive tract. These effects might be mediated through hormonal alterations in the hypothalamic pituitary gonadal axis or through the direct interaction of insulin on the testes and sperm cells. Although fertility complications also occur in type 2 diabetic males, this review will focus on the defects specifically linked with the lack of insulin seen in type 1 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-847
Number of pages9
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Diabetes
  • Insulin
  • Reproduction
  • Sperm
  • Testes


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