Targeting ERK/COX-2 signaling pathway in permethrin-induced testicular toxicity: a possible modulating effect of matrine

  • Marwa Mohamed AtefEmail author
  • Omnia Safwat El-Deeb
  • Mona Tayssir Sadek
  • Rehab E. Abo El Gheit
  • Marwa Nagy Emam
  • Yasser Mostafa Hafez
  • Rasha Osama El-Esawy
Original Article


Permethrin (PER), the prevalent synthetic pyrethroid, was reported to have genotoxic effects along with male reproductive organs impairment. Matrine, the Chinese herb chief alkaloid constituent, is used extensively owing to its recognized pharmacological properties. The study included 30 rats allocated equally into three groups; Group I: Control group, Group II: PER group and Group III: Matrine treated PER group. All groups were subjected to the measurement of Steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) gene expression by PCR technique while testosterone, phosphorylated Extracellular signal-regulated Kinase 1/2 (p-ERK1/2) and Cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) levels were assessed by ELISA technique. Malondialdehyde (MDA), total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) were also detected spectrophotometrically in addition to assessment of DNA fragmentation. Testicular histological structure as well as sperm count and morphology were studied. Matrine improved testicular toxicity evidenced by significant upregulation of StAR gene expression, elevation of testosterone level and significant decrease of p-ERK1/2 and COX-2 levels. Moreover, enhancements of the antioxidant status together with improvement of the histological findings were observed. These findings could pave the way for matrine to be used as a promising therapeutic agent in treatment of PER toxicity.

Graphic abstract


Permethrin Matrine Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein Phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase Cyclooxygenase 2 



No fund was received for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared that there is no conflict of interests.

Supplementary material

11033_2019_5125_MOESM1_ESM.docx (24 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 24 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical Biochemistry Department, Faculty of MedicineTanta UniversityTantaEgypt
  2. 2.Histology Department, Faculty of MedicineTanta UniversityTantaEgypt
  3. 3.Physiology Department, Faculty of MedicineTanta UniversityTantaEgypt
  4. 4.Internal Medicine Department, Faculty of MedicineTanta UniversityTantaEgypt
  5. 5.Pharmacology Department, Faculty of MedicineTanta UniversityTantaEgypt

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