Effect of Electroacupuncture on Spermatogenesis in Rats with Oligozoospermia of Insufficiency of Shen (Kidney) Essence Syndrome
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To assess the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) on expression of cytoskeletal proteins from Sertoli cells (SCs) and spermatogenesis in rats with oligozoospermia of insufficiency of Shen (Kidney) essence syndrome (OIKES).
Twenty healthy male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to four groups using a random number table: control, tripterygium glycosides (TG) treatment, sham and EA groups (n=5 in each group). A rat model of OIKES was established by oral gavage with TG. The EA group was treated with TG and received EA at Shenshu (BL 23) and Zusanli (ST 36) acupoints for 20 min, once daily for 30 days, while the sham group received EA at identical acupoints with skin penetration without stimulation. After 30 days, the fifinal body weight and coeffificients for the testis and epididymis were calculated and sperm parameters were measured. Immunohistochemical analyses were performed to detect expression of vimentin and α-tubulin in SCs and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) immunoreactivity in germ cells. Apoptosis in germ cells was quantifified by the transferase biotin-dUTP nick end labeling assay.
Compared with the control group, the final body weight and testis/epididymis coefficients of rats in the TG-treated group were not significantly different, but the sperm count and motility were lower (P<0.05). Expressions of vimentin and α-tubulin were also signifificantly weaker (P<0.01). The PCNA immunoreactivity of germ cells was decreased (P=0.059), whereas the apoptotic index of germ cells was increased signifificantly (P<0.01). In contrast, EA at BL 23 and ST 36 acupoints signifificantly improved the fifinal body weight as well as the sperm count, concentration and motility (P<0.01 or P<0.05). EA increased expression of vimentin and α-tubulin in SCs markedly, and signifificantly enhanced PCNA immunoreactivity with decreased apoptosis in germ cells (P<0.01 or P<0.05).
EA at BL 23 and ST 36 acupoints has protective effects on spermatogenesis in rats with OIKES. This effect seems to be achieved by attenuating TG-induced disruption of cytoskeletal protein in SCs.
Keywordselectroacupuncture Sertoli cells cytoskeletal proteins oligozoospermia insufficiency of shen (Kidney) essence syndrome
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