El-Emam, Mahran Mohamed Abd Tokushima University|Zagazig University
Ray, Manobendro Nath Tokushima University
Heat is a detrimental environmental stressor that disrupts spermatogenesis and results in male infertility. Previous investigations have shown that heat stress reduces the motility, number, and fertilization ability of living spermatozoa. Sperm hyperactivation, capacitation, acrosomal reaction, and chemotaxis towards the ova are regulated by the cation channel of sperm (CatSper). This sperm-specific ion channel triggers the influx of calcium ions into sperm cells. The aim of this study in rats was to investigate whether heat treatment affected the expression levels of CatSper-1 and -2, together with the sperm parameters, testicular histology and weight. The rats were exposed to heat stress for 6 days and the cauda epididymis and testis were collected 1, 14, and 35 days after heat treatment to measure sperm parameters, gene and protein expression, testicular weight, and histology. Interestingly, we found that heat treatment caused a notable downregulation of CatSper-1 and -2 expression at all three time points. In addition, there were significant reductions in sperm motility and number and an increase in the percentage of abnormal sperm at 1 and 14 days, with cessation of sperm production at 35 days. Furthermore, expression of the steroidogenesis regulator, 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) was upregulated in the 1-, 14- and 35-day samples. Heat treatment also upregulated the expression of the apoptosis regulator, BCL2-associated X protein (BAX), decreased testicular weight, and altered testicular histology. Therefore, our data showed for the first time that heat stress downregulated CatSper-1 and -2 in the rat testis, and that this may be a mechanism involved in heat stress-induced impairment of spermatogenesis.
Journal of Thermal Biology
© 2023. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/