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    Current scientific evidence guiding the decision whether men with an active desire to become a father should be treated with methotrexate (MTX) remains controversial. We aimed to prospectively evaluate the testicular toxicity profile of MTX focusing on several markers of male fertility, including semen parameters and sperm DNA fragmentation index (sDFI). As a secondary outcome, we aimed to evaluate whether MTX-polyglutamates can be detected in spermatozoa and seminal plasma and to evaluate the enzymatic activity in spermatozoa of folylpolyglutamate synthetase (FPGS). In a prospective cohort study, men ≥18 years who started therapy with MTX were invited to participate (MTX-starters). Participants were instructed to produce two semen samples (a pre-exposure and a post-exposure sample after 13 weeks). Healthy men ≥18 years were invited to participate as controls. Conventional semen analyses, male reproductive endocrine axis and sDFI were compared between groups. FPGS enzymatic activity and MTX-PG1-5 concentrations were determined by mass spectrometry analytical methods. In total, 20 MTX-starters and 25 controls were included. The pre-exposure and postexposure semen parameters of MTX-starters were not statistically significant different. Compared with healthy controls, the conventional semen parameters and the sDFI of MTX-starters were not statistically significant different. These data were corroborated by the marginal accumulation of MTX-PGs in spermatozoa, consistent with the very low FPGS enzymatic activity associated with the expression of an alternative FPGS splice-variant. Treatment with MTX is not associated with testicular toxicity, consistent with the very low concentration of intracellular MTX-PG. Therefore, therapy with MTX can be safely started or continued in men and with a wish to become a father. © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2023. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.


    Luis Fernando Perez-Garcia, Esther Röder, Bouwe P Krijthe, Laura Jc Kranenburg-van Koppen, Roxanne van Adrichem, Els Zirkzee, Pieter H Griffioen, Kris Peeters, Marry Lin, Eduard A Struys, Gerrit Jansen, Martijn Ba van Doorn, Robert de Jonge, Gert R Dohle, Radboud Jem Dolhain. Is methotrexate safe for men with an immune-mediated inflammatory disease and an active desire to become a father? Results of a prospective cohort study (iFAME-MTX). Annals of the rheumatic diseases. 2023 Aug;82(8):1068-1075

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    PMID: 37263756

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