Relationship of leptin administration with production of reactive oxygen species, sperm DNA fragmentation, sperm parameters and hormone profile in the adult rat
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Leptin, an adipose tissue-derived hormone, plays an important role in energy homeostasis and metabolism, and in the neuroendocrine and reproductive systems. The function of leptin in male reproduction is unclear; however, it is known to affect sex hormones, sperm motility and its parameters. Leptin induces mitochondrial superoxide production in aortic endothelia and may increase oxidative stress and abnormal sperm production in leptin-treated rats. This study aims to evaluate whether exogenous leptin affects sperm parameters, hormone profiles, and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in adult rats.
A total of 65 Sprague–Dawley rats were divided into three treated groups and a control group. Treated rats received daily intraperitoneal injections of 5, 10 and 30 μg/kg of leptin administered for a duration of 7, 15, and 42 days. Control rats were given 0.1 mL of 0.9 % normal saline for the same period. One day after final drug administration, we evaluated serum specimens for follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), leutinizing hormone (LH), free testosterone (FT), and total testosterone (TT) levels. Samples from the rat epididymis were also evaluated for sperm parameters and motility characteristics by a Computer-Aided Semen Analysis (CASA) system. Samples were treated with 2′,7′-dichlorofluorescein-diacetate (DCFH-DA) and analyzed using flow cytometry and TUNEL to determine the impact of leptin administration on sperm DNA fragmentation.
According to CASA, significant differences in all sperm parameters in leptin-treated rats and their age-matched controls were detected, except for TM, ALH and BCF. Serum FSH and LH levels were significantly higher in rats that received 10 and 30 μg/kg of leptin compared to those treated with 5 μg/kg of leptin in the same group and control rats (P < 0.05). ROS and sperm DNA fragmentation was significantly higher in rats injected with 10 and 30 μg/kg of leptin for 7 and 15 days compared with rats treated with 5 μg/kg of leptin and the control group (P < 0.05) for the same time period. However, at day 42 of treatment, ROS and sperm DNA fragmentation levels significantly decreased in all groups (P < 0.05).
According to these results, leptin can possibly affect male infertility by ROS induction or hormone profile modulation.
KeywordsLeptin Reactive oxidative species DNA fragmentation Sperm quality
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