The protective effect of curcumin on testicular tissue in a cryptorchid rat model



      Cryptorchidism is the most common abnormality of male sexual development. For the protection of testicular functions, antioxidants have emerged as novel options. This study aimed to investigate the protective effect of curcumin (Cur), a strong antioxidant, on the Flutamide-induced cryptorchidism testicular tissue.

      Materials and methods

      Pregnant rats were randomly allocated to 3 groups (n = 10, each): a control, a model, and a Cur-treated group (100 mg/kg/d). All offspring were delivered by days 21–22 of gestation and the male rats were sacrificed at postnatal birth days (PNDs) PND60. The testicles were separated and weighed, followed by TUNEL staining to detect germ cell apoptosis, an ELISA kit to measure SOD and MDA, and Western blot analysis to evaluate the expression of Bax, Bcl-2, and PCNA.


      Curcumin administration ameliorated the histological appearance of the testis and greatly reduced the level of apoptosis in cryptorchidism rats' testicular cells. After curcumin treatment, the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) was restored in the testis tissues of cryptorchidism rats. Curcumin therapy reduced Bax expression while increasing Bcl-2 expression, according to the molecular study. Curcumin therapy also reduced malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and enhanced superoxide dismutase (SOD) levels in cryptorchidism rats' testis tissue.


      Summary Figure
      Graphical AbstractPhotomicrographs of H&E, PCNA of the rat testes. H&E panels (A1) Control animals with normal testicular histology and active spermatogenesis. (B1) Cryptorchidism rats showing degeneration of seminiferous tubules. (C1) Improvement in the seminiferous tubule structure was observed in Cur-treated animals (400 × ). PCNA panels: In controls (A2), spermatogonia and early-stage spermatocytes were strongly positive with PCNA staining; the number of PCNA-positive germinal cells was less in the cryptorchidism rats (B2); at the end of curcumin treatment, PCNA expression was restored in the testis tissues of the Cur-treated rats (C2) (400 × ). AbbreviationsH&E, hematoxylin–eosin; PCNA, proliferating cell nuclear antigen.


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