N-acetylcysteine can protect against polystyrene microplastic induced sperm damage. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Exposure to polystyrene microplastics causes reproductive toxicity through oxidative stress and activation of the p38 MAPK signaling pathway.
Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2019 Dec 30 ;190:110133. Epub 2019 Dec 30. PMID: 31896473
Microplastics (MP) are receiving increased attention as a harmful environmental pollutant, however information on the reproduction toxicity of MP in terrestrial animals, especially mammals, is limited. In this experiment, we investigated the impact of polystyrene microplastics (micro-PS) on the reproductive system of male mice. Healthy Balb/c mice were exposed to saline or to different doses of micro-PS for 6 weeks. The results showed that micro-PS exposure resulted in a significant decrease in the number and motility of sperm, and a significant increase in sperm deformity rate. We also detected a decrease in the activity of the sperm metabolism-related enzymes, succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and a decrease in the serum testosterone content in the micro-PS exposure group. We found that micro-PS exposure caused oxidative stress and activated JNK and p38 MAPK. In addition, we found that when N-acetylcysteine (NAC) scavenges ROS, and when the p38 MAPK-specific inhibitor SB203580 inhibits p38MAPK, the micro-PS-induced sperm damage is alleviated and testosterone secretion improves. In conclusion, our findings suggest that micro-PS induces reproductive toxicity in mice through oxidative stress and activation of the p38 MAPK signaling pathways.