AGE
, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 183-197
Date: 24 Jul 2013

Impact of moderate calorie restriction on testicular morphology and endocrine function in adult rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

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Abstract

We previously reported that moderate calorie restriction (CR) has minimal impact on testicular gene expression in young adult rhesus macaques, and no obvious negative impact on semen quality or plasma testosterone levels. We now extend these findings by examining the influence of CR on various aspects of the reproductive axis of older males, including 24-h circulating testosterone levels, testicular gene expression, and testicular morphology. Young adult and old adult male rhesus macaques were subjected to either 30 % CR for 5–7 years, or were fed a standard control diet. Analysis of the 24-h plasma testosterone profiles revealed a significant age-associated decline, but no evidence for CR-induced suppression in either the young or old males. Similarly, expression profiling of key genes associated with testosterone biosynthesis and Leydig cell maintenance showed no significant CR-induced changes in either the young or old animals. The only evidence for CR-associated negative effects on the testis was detected in the old animals at the histological level; when old CR animals were compared with their age-matched controls, there was a modest decrease in seminiferous tubule diameter and epithelium height, with a concomitant increase in the number of depleted germ cell lines. Reassuringly, data from this study and our previous study suggest that moderate CR does not negatively impact 24-h plasma testosterone profiles or testicular gene expression. Although there appear to be some minor CR-induced effects on testicular morphology in old animals, it is unclear if these would significantly compromise fertility.