MitoQ ameliorates testicular damage induced by gamma irradiation in rats: Modulation of mitochondrial apoptosis and steroidogenesis

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© 2019 Elsevier Inc. Aims: The deleterious effect of gamma radiation on testicular tissue is a challenging problem in nuclear medicine. This study investigated the potential radioprotective effect of mitoquinol (MitoQ), a mitochondria-targeted antioxidant, against testicular damage induced by gamma irradiation in rats. Main methods: Rats were allocated into four groups. The first group served as the control, the second group received MitoQ (2 mg / kg / day; i.p.) for seven days, the third group was exposed to gamma radiation (5 Gy as a single dose) and the last group received MitoQ prior to irradiation. Rats were sacrificed. Then, sperm analyses and the serum testosterone were determined. Moreover, evaluation of mitochondrial oxidative stress parameters (SOD, GSH and GPx) as well as apoptosis indicators (cytochrome-c, Bax, Bcl-2 and caspase-3) was performed. Additionally, analysis of steroidogensis biomarkers (StAR, 3β-HSD and 17β-HSD) and histopathological investigations were carried out. Key findings: MitoQ replenished mitochondrial SOD, GPx and GSH indicating its strong antioxidant effect in addition to its energy preservation manifested by the elevated ATP. MitoQ inhibited the intrinsic apoptosis via diminution of Bax, cytochrome-c and caspase-3 and alleviation of Bcl-2. This antioxidant conferred protection to steroidogenesis as verified by the increase in testosterone and the up-regulation of StAR, 3β-HSD and 17β-HSD expression; these effects might be correlated with its antioxidant/anti-apoptotic potential. Histopathological and sperm analyses corroborated the biochemical findings. Significance: This study identifies MitoQ as a novel agent for the management of testicular toxicity induced by gamma irradiation.

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