Activated Nrf-2 Pathway by Vitamin E to Attenuate Testicular Injuries of Rats with Sub-chronic Cadmium Exposure

Zhuo Chen, Zhicai Zuo, Kejie Chen, Zhuangzhi Yang, Fengyuan Wang, Jing Fang, Hengmin Cui, Hongrui Guo, Ping Ouyang, Zhengli Chen, Chao Huang, Yi Geng, Wentao Liu, Huidan Deng

Biol Trace Elem Res . 2021 Jun 25. doi: 10.1007/s12011-021-02784-1. Online ahead of print.


Cadmium (Cd), a heavy metal element, cumulates in the testis and can cause male reproductive toxicity. Although vitamin E (VE) as one of potential antioxidants protects the testis against toxicity of Cd, the underlying mechanism remained uncompleted clear. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the Nrf-2 pathway is involved with the protective effect of VE on testicular damages caused by sub-chronic Cd exposure. Thirty-two SD rats were divided into four groups and orally administrated with VE and/or Cd for 28 consecutive days: control group, VE group (100 mg VE/kg), Cd group (5 mg CdCl2/kg), and VE + Cd group (100 mg VE/kg + 5 mg CdCl2/kg). The results showed that 28-day exposure of Cd caused accumulation of Cd, histopathological lesions, and alternations of sperm parameters (elevated rate of abnormal sperm, decreased count of sperm, declined motility, and viability of sperm). Moreover, the rats exposed to Cd showed significant oxidative stress (increased contents of MDA and decreased levels or activities of T-AOC, GSH, CAT, SOD and GSH-Px) and inhibition of Nrf-2 signaling pathway (downregulation of Nrf-2, HO-1, NQO-1, GCLC, GCLM and GST) of the testes. In contrast, VE treatment significantly reduced the Cd accumulation, alleviated histopathological lesions and dysfunctions, activated Nrf-2 pathway, and attenuated the oxidative stress caused by Cd in the testes of rats. In conclusion, VE, through upregulating Nrf-2 pathway, could protect testis against oxidative damages induced by sub-chronic Cd exposure.

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Protective role of vitamin E in testicular development of mice exposed to valproic acid

Daniel Conei, Mariana Rojas, Luis Santamaría, Jennie Risopatrón

Andrologia . 2021 Jun 21;e14140. doi: 10.1111/and.14140. Online ahead of print.


Valproic acid (VPA) is a teratogenic antiepileptic, causing alterations in oxidative stress in prenatal development, being altered the development of the male reproductive system. The purpose of this study was to determine the protective effect of vitamin E (VE) on the testicular development in embryos, foetuses and pubertal mice exposed to VPA, VPA+VE and only VE. Sixty pregnant adult female mice were used, to which they were administered 600 mg/kg of VPA (VPA groups), 600 mg/kg of VPA and 200 IU of VE (VPA+VE groups), 200 IU VE (VE groups) and 0.3 ml of 0.9% physiological solution (control groups), showing at 12.5 days post-coital (dpc), 17.5 dpc and 6 weeks postnatal testicular development, and proliferative and apoptotic indices. The groups treated with VPA presented a smaller testicular volume, with greater interstitial space and a delay in the conformation of the testicular cords, shorter lengths and diameters of the germinal epithelium, a smaller number of germline and somatic cells, an increase in cells apoptotic and less proliferation, with significant differences. VE-treated groups behaved similarly to controls. In conclusion, VE reduces the effects caused by VPA throughout testicular development, from embryonic stages, continuing until pubertal stages.

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α-Tocopherol Stereoisomer Profiles in Matched Human Maternal and Umbilical Cord Plasma

Matthew J Kuchan, Stephen J DeMichele, Karen J Schimpf, Xinhua Chen

Curr Dev Nutr . 2021 May 3;5(6):nzab073. doi: 10.1093/cdn/nzab073. eCollection 2021 Jun.


Background: α-Tocopherol (αT) is essential for fetal development. One study has shown that the human placenta preferentially transfers the natural stereoisomer, RRR-αT. But prenatal supplements generally contain synthetic αT (S-αT).

Objectives: We aimed to determine if umbilical cord plasma is enriched for RRR-αT in racially diverse neonates from both uncomplicated and complicated pregnancies and if cord RRR-αT enrichment is impacted by maternal αT stereoisomer profile.

Methods: We measured αT and αT stereoisomers in plasma from a randomly selected subset of 66 predominantly black and Hispanic maternal-fetal pairs from the Camden Study involving control (= 28) and complicated pregnancies (= 38). We collected maternal plasma at study entry (week 16 gestation; w16) and week 28 gestation (w28) and cord plasma at birth.

Results: RRR-αT was the predominant stereoisomer in all maternal and cord plasma samples, but S-αT stereoisomers were found in most samples and comprised a high percentage of αT in some maternal-neonate pairs. Cord plasma had a higher percentage RRR-αT (< 0.05) and lower percentage S-αT (< 0.0001) than w28 plasma. Pregnancy status did not impact maternal or cord plasma concentrations of αT, RRR-αT, or S-αT; except plasma from complicated pregnancies was higher in S-αT at w28 than at w16 (< 0.05). Maternal w28 αT did not correlate with cord αT. However, both maternal w28 αT and S-αT positively correlated with both cord S-αT (r = 0.340, = 0.0049; r = 0.538, < 0.00001) and percentage S-αT (r = 0.399, = 0.001; r = 0.786, < 0.00001) but negatively correlated with cord percentage RRR-αT (r = -0.399, = 0.0009; r = -0.786, < 0.00001).

Conclusions: The proportion of RRR-αT was higher in cord compared with maternal plasma in both uncomplicated and complicated pregnancies. Our data suggest that maternal S-αT raises cord S-αT and decreases the proportion of RRR-αT in the neonatal circulation. Because the bioactivities of RRR-αT and S-αT differ, this warrants future research to determine the importance of our observations to neonatal αT status.

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Paternal trans-fatty acid and vitamin E diet affects rat offspring’s semen quality and PPARs expression

Narges Khamehiee, Parham Jazireian, Bita Ebrahimi, AliReza Alizadeh, Maryam Shahhoseini

Andrologia . 2021 Apr 27;e14082. doi: 10.1111/and.14082. Online ahead of print.


Trans-fatty acids (TFAs) consumption has created concerns regarding male/female reproductive system. However, the effects of TFA in paternal diet on offspring’s reproduction have not been addressed. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of rat paternal TFAs and vitamin E consumption on offspring’s sperm quality and expression pattern of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) in testis tissues. Forty adult male rats were randomly divided into four groups: Control diet (C); Control diet plus TFA (CTH); diet supplemented with vitamin E (E) and a diet containing vitamin E and TFA (ETH). Mother rats had normal diet during gestation period. Three offspring from each group were chosen randomly and their testicular samples were collected, and sperm parameters were measured by CASA. Our results indicate that feeding fathers with TFA can negatively affect offspring’s sperm concentration and motility, while consumption of vitamin E can improve these parameters (p < .05). The paternal diet containing TFA down-regulated the expression of PPARβ and PPARγ genes, whereas vitamin E-containing diet up-regulated the transcription of PPAR genes. In conclusion, TFA intake in paternal diet may have negative effects on reproductive system of the offspring while vitamin E may not diminish these effects.

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Effect of prolonged whole-body hyperthermia on adult male rat testes and the protective role of vitamin C and E: A histological and biochemical study

Suhaila A Qari, Ahlam A Alahmadi, Soad S Ali, Zuhair M Mohammedsaleh, Rabee F A Ibrahim, Nagla A El-Shitany

Andrologia . 2021 Apr 20;e14075. doi: 10.1111/and.14075. Online ahead of print.


Hyperthermia (HT) is a significant risk factor for male infertility. Most researchers investigated the effect of localized and short-term HT on male fertility. This study aimed to assess the harmful impacts of prolonged and generalized HT on testicular histology and ultrastructure in rats. The possible protective effects of vitamin E (Vit E), Vit C, and their combination were also investigated. Thirty male adult Wister rats were used (5 groups). 1- control, 2- HT, 3- Vit C, 4- Vit E, and 5- Vit C + Vit E. Rats in groups 2-5 were subjected to HT (41°C), 1 hr daily for 2 weeks. HT-induced a significant decrease in body weight gain, food and water intake, and serum testosterone. HT showed a damaging effect on the testicular and coda epididymis tissue. HT significantly (p ≤ .05) produced oxidative stress (decreased serum catalase (145.49 ± 8.98), glutathione peroxidase (20.27 ± 4.46), superoxide dismutase (2.68 ± 0.54), and reduced glutathione (5.18 ± 0.33), and increased malondialdehyde (9.46 ± 1.55). Vit E alone and combined with Vit C, significantly protected the gonads against the deleterious effects of HT. The results recommended that prolonged HT of the whole body is harmful to male fertility. Prophylactic therapy with Vit E could help decrease the HT-induced male gonadal harm.

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Stereological and histopathological evaluation of doxorubicin-induced toxicity in female rats’ ovary and uterus and palliative effects of quercetin and vitamin E

M Samare-Najaf, F Zal, S Safari, F Koohpeyma, N Jamali

Hum Exp Toxicol . 2020 Dec;39(12):1710-1724. doi: 10.1177/0960327120937329. Epub 2020 Jul 15.


Doxorubicin (DOX) is a widely used chemotherapeutic agent with demonstrated reproductive toxicity. This study sought to determine the DOX-induced toxicity in the ovary and uterus and the preventive effects of quercetin (QCT) and vitamin E (Vit.E). Female rats were divided into six groups as follows: control, QCT (20 mg/kg), Vit.E (200 mg/kg), DOX (accumulative 15 mg/kg), DOX/QCT, and DOX/Vit.E. After 3 weeks, the toxicity of DOX in ovarian and uterine tissues and the potential palliative effects of QCT and Vit.E were evaluated by histopathological-stereological methods. The findings indicate a dramatic decline in the number of ovarian follicles (p < 0.001), ovarian and its associated structures volume, the volume of the uterus, its layers, and related structures (p < 0.05). Coadministration of QCT and Vit.E with DOX-treated rats demonstrated an alleviative effect on most of the studied parameters. Nevertheless, few adverse effects were recognized concerning these antioxidants administration (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the findings of this study support the protective role of these dietary supplements in the prevention of DOX-induced toxicity in uterine and ovarian tissues.

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Changes in vitamin E levels as a marker of female infertility

Mussarat Ashraf, Fatima Mustansir, Syed Mujtaba Baqir, Faiza Alam, Rehana Rehman

J Pak Med Assoc . 2020 Oct;70(10):1762-1766. doi: 10.5455/JPMA.40329.


Objective: To study the impact of Vitamin E (VE) levels of follicular fluid (FF) on oocyte competence, embryo development and pregnancy outcome in patients after intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Methods: It was a cross-sectional study conducted in Islamabad Clinic Serving Infertile Couples in which follicular fluid of 137 females booked for ICSI, was obtained during oocyte retrieval, centrifuged and stored for analysis. VE levels in FF were analyzed by enzyme linked immune sorbent assay. Receiver Operating Curve (ROC)was used to demarcate VE levels required for acquiring pregnancy. Generalized linear model using log binomial regression was applied to see the effect of VE on pregnancy, the effect of VE on oocyte and embryo parameters was assessed by linear regression; all p-values less than 0.05 were considered statistically significant.

Results: ROC suggested 5.49 (unit) as the cutoff value of VE in the pregnancy group, with 72.9% area under the curve. Ninety-one females comprised Group I with VE > 5.49, whereas forty six females formed Group II with VE < 5.49. Follicular fluid VE levels were significantly high in 39 (28.5%) females who compromised pregnancy group. Chances of pregnancy increased to 4% with an increase in VE levels (p-value 0.01). VE gave significant positive relationship with all oocyte (retrieved, mature and fertilized) parameters, cleavage of embryo till its differentiation to blastocysts (p<0.01).

Conclusions: Adequate amount of VE in follicular fluid enhances the possibility of maturation of oocytes which resulted in better reproductive outcome after ICSI.

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Effect of Vitamin E deficiency on spermatogenesis in mice and its similarity to aging

Hirokatsu Saito, Kenshiro Hara, Satoshi Kitajima, Kentaro Tanemura

Reprod Toxicol . 2020 Oct 9;S0890-6238(20)30225-2. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2020.10.003. Online ahead of print.


Vitamin E (VE) plays numerous important roles in mammals because of its antioxidant activity. As a result, VE deficiency (VED) leads to the dysfunction of central nervous, reproductive, and immune systems. However, few studies have reported the effects of VED on the male reproductive system. In this study, we investigated the effects of VED on male reproductive function and examined its relationship to involution in the male reproductive system with aging. We fed a VED or control diet to 4-week-old mice for 12 or 24 weeks. Following the histopathological analysis of reproductive organs, we found seminiferous tubules with exfoliation in the VED groups, and its frequency was significantly increased compared with the controls. Additionally, in the epididymis, a decrease in spermatozoa and an increase in apoptotic germ cells were observed in the VED groups compared with the controls. By Papanicolaou staining, we also found an increase in the proportion of sperm with abnormal morphology in the VED groups compared with the controls. These reproductive effects induced by VED were highly similar to one aspect of those observed in aged mice. Our findings demonstrate that the aging of the male reproductive system may be accelerated because of the impaired in vivo antioxidant capacity induced by VED.

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Comparison of the Effect of Ceratonia siliqua L. (Carob) Syrup and Vitamin E on Sperm Parameters, Oxidative Stress Index, and Sex Hormones in Infertile Men: a Randomized Controlled Trial

Mir Mohammad Reza Aghajani, Soleiman Mahjoub, Faraz Mojab, Mahshid Namdari, Neda Mahdinezhad Gorji, Afsaneh Dashtaki, Parvaneh Mirabi

Reprod Sci . 2020 Sep 21. doi: 10.1007/s43032-020-00314-3. Online ahead of print.


Herbal products with an antioxidant capacity can boost male reproductive functions. The empiric use of Ceratonia siliqua (carob) for its antioxidant properties is common among infertile men in Iran and Turkey. The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of C. siliqua (carob) on semen parameters, oxidative stress markers, and pregnancy rate in a parallel randomized, controlled study. A total of 60 infertile men with oligozoospermia, asthenospermia, and teratospermia were recruited from April 2018 to March 2019. Participants were divided randomly into the following two groups: carob syrup twice a day or vitamin E 100 mg twice a day for 3 months. Semen analysis was performed and hormonal levels and stress oxidative markers were measured in each treatment arm after 3 months. The quality of semen parameters improved in the carob group compared with Vit E semen count (p = 0.04 Cohen’s d = .51), morphology (p = 0.001 Cohen’s d = .93) and motility parameters (p = 0.002 Cohen’s d = .90) were significantly higher in the carob group. No significant difference can be detected in post-treatment hormonal parameters and oxidative markers between groups, except for total antioxidant capacity(TAC) which was higher after post-treatment in carob group. A significantly higher pregnancy rate was found among the carob group. The administration of carob may be an effective agent for the improvement of semen parameters, probably related both to its involvement in the changing of testosterone level and to its antioxidant properties. Nevertheless, additional studies to evaluate the optimal dose and duration of treatment are needed.

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Protective effect of vitamin E on sperm quality and in vitro fertilizing potential and testosterone concentration in polyvinyl chloride treated male rats

Abbas Sadeghi, Farah Farokhi, Ali Shalizar-Jalali, Gholamreza Najafi

Vet Res Forum . Summer 2020;11(3):257-263. doi: 10.30466/vrf.2019.91184.2206. Epub 2020 Sep 15.


Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) has toxic effects through the induction of oxidative stress in the body and testicles. Vitamin E (Vit E) is a dietary compound that functions as an antioxidant scavenging toxic free radicals. The present study aimed to probe the protective effect of Vit E against PVC-induced reprotoxicity in male rats. In this experimental study, 24 male rats were randomly divided into four groups (n=6) including control, Vit E (150 mg kg-1 per day; orally), PVC (1000 mg kg-1 per day; orally) and PVC + Vit E. After 40 days, rats were euthanized and epididymal sperms characteristics, embryo development and malondialdehyde (MDA) and testosterone levels were examined. The PVC decreased sperm count, motility and viability as well as testosterone level and increased sperms with damaged chromatin in comparison with controls. Also, the percentages of fertilization, two-cell embryos and blastocysts as well as MDA levels were decreased in PVC-treated rats. However, Vit E improved PVC-induced alterations in aforesaid parameters. The results indicated that PVC can reduce fertility potential in male rats probably through androgen and sperm quality and quantity reductions, while Vit E can exert protective effects in PVC-related reproductive toxicities.

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