Coenzyme Q10 mitigates ionizing radiation-induced testicular damage in rats through inhibition of oxidative stress and mitochondria-mediated apoptotic cell death

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© 2019 Radiotherapy is a common treatment modality for cancer patients; however, its use is limited by decreasing the probability of fertility in male cancer survivors. Therefore, this study aimed to define the capability of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a potent stimulator of mitochondrial function, in attenuating ionizing radiation (IR)-induced spermatogenesis impairments. Male Sprague Dawley rats were exposed to a single dose of ϒ-rays (10 Gy) and/or treated with CoQ10 (10 mg/kg, orally, for 2 consecutive weeks). IR mediated irregular seminiferous tubules, which were emerged with typical morphological characteristics of apoptosis, and nuclear condensation, while CoQ10 significantly preserved the testicular structure and maintained spermatogenesis, which was displayed by higher levels of serum estradiol and testosterone. CoQ10 remarkably augmented sperm count, motility, and viability while diminished the rate of sperm-defects relatively to their counterparts after IR exposure. CoQ10 modulations in reproductive parameters were underpinned by attenuating IR-induced oxidative stress as evidenced by decreasing lipid peroxidation and increasing the antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-s-transferase activities, and glutathione level. Supporting the involvement of CoQ10 in the anti-apoptotic response, the reduced mRNA expression levels of p53, Puma, and Bax accompanied by the increased Bcl-2 mRNA expression were observed. Subsequently, CoQ10 ameliorated the mitochondria dependent apoptotic pathway through diminishing Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, caspase-3 protein expression, and DNA fragmentation in testes of irradiated rats. Taken together, our findings showed that CoQ10 conserved against IR-induced steroidogenesis disruption through subsiding mitochondria-mediated oxidative stress injury in germinal cells.

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