Korean J Vet Res.  2019 Jun;59(2):59-67. 10.14405/kjvr.2019.59.2.59.

Beta-carotene prevents the spermatogenic disorders induced by exogenous scrotal hyperthermia through modulations of oxidative stress, apoptosis, and androgen biosynthesis in mice

  • 1College of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju 28644, Korea. synam@cbu.ac.kr
  • 2College of Chinese Medicinal Materials, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun, Jilin 130-118, China.
  • 3Asan Institute for Life Sciences, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul 05505, Korea.
  • 4College of Veterinary Medicine, Konkuk University, Seoul 050029, Korea.


We investigated whether β-carotene (β-CA) or ellagic acid (EA), originating from various fruits and vegetables, has a preventive effect against male infertility induced by exogenous scrotal hyperthermia. ICR adult mice were intraperitoneally treated with 10 mg/kg of β-CA or EA daily for 13 days consecutively. During this time, mice were subjected to transient scrotal heat stress in a water bath at 43℃ for 20 min on day 7, and their testes and blood were obtained on day 14 for histopathologic and biochemical analyses. Heat stress induced significant testicular weight reduction, germ cell loss and degeneration, as well as abnormal localization of phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase (PHGPx) and manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) in spermatogenic and Leydig cells. Heat stress also altered the levels of oxidative stress (lipid peroxidation, SOD activity, and PHGPx, MnSOD, and HIF-1α mRNAs), apoptosis (Bax, Bcl-xL, caspase 3, NF-κB, and TGF-β1 mRNAs), and androgen biosynthesis (serological testosterone concentration and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase mRNA) in testes. These changes were all improved significantly by β-CA treatment, but only slightly improved by EA treatment. These findings indicate that β-CA, through modulations of oxidative stress, apoptosis, and androgen biosynthesis, is a potent preventive agent against testicular injuries induced by scrotal hyperthermia.


β-carotene; ellagic acid; spermatogenic disorders; scrotal hyperthermia; testes
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