Nicotine-induced damages in testicular tissue of rats; evidences for bcl-2, p53 and caspase-3 expression

Document Type: Original Article


Department of Comparative Histology & Embryology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran


Objective(s): Present study was performed in order to uncover new aspects for nicotine-induced damages on spermatogenesis cell lineage.
Materials and Methods: For this purpose, 36 mature male Wistar rats were divided into three groups as; control-sham (0.2 ml, saline normal, IP), low dose (0.2 mg/kg BW-1, IP) nicotine-received and high dose (0.4 mg/kg BW-1, IP) nicotine-received groups. Following 7 weeks, the expression of bcl-2, p53 and caspase-3 at mRNA and protein levels were investigated by using reverse-transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemical (IHC) analyses, respectively. Moreover, the serum level of FSH, LH and testosterone were evaluated. Finally, the mRNA damage was analyzed by using special fluorescent staining.
Results: Nicotine, at both dose levels, decreased tubular differentiation, spermiogenesis and repopulation indices and enhanced cellular depletion. Animals in nicotine-received groups exhibited a significant (P<0.05) reduction at mRNA and protein levels of bcl-2. More analyses revealed a remarkable (P<0.05) enhancement in expression of p53 and caspase-3 in comparison to control-sham animals. Finally, nicotine resulted in a significant (P<0.05) reduction in serum level of testosterone and elevated mRNA damage.
Conclusion: Our data showed that, nicotine by suppressing the testosterone biosynthesis, reducing mRNA and protein levels of bcl-2 and up regulating the p53 and caspase-3 mRNA and protein levels adversely affects the spermatogenesis and results in cellular depletion.


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