Protective effect of alpha-lipoic acid on di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate-induced testicular toxicity in mice.
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2020 Feb 7. Epub 2020 Feb 7. PMID: 32030592
Phthalates are synthetic chemicals, widely used as plasticizers due to their flexibility in plastics. Human populations may be exposed to phthalates through direct contact or environmental contamination. Most studies have focused on the effects of phthalates on the reproductive tract and have classified these compounds as endocrine disruptors. In this study, we aimed to investigate the possible oxidative damage induced by di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in the mouse testis and to evaluate the regulatory effects of alpha-lipoic acid (LA). For this purpose, forty male mice were divided into four experimental groups. Group I received normal saline (2 mL/kg; p.o.) and corn oil (5 mL/kg; p.o.) as the control group, group II received DEHP (2 g/kg; p.o.), group III received DEHP and LA (20 mg/kg; p.o.), and group IV was treated with LA alone; treatments continued for 2 weeks. The glutathione level (GSH), as well as glutathione peroxidase (GPx), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (CAT) activities, was determined in mice. In addition, serum concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone, interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) were measured. Nitric oxide (NO) level, malondialdehyde (MDA) level, sperm characteristics, and histological changes of the testes were also evaluated. The results showed that 2 g/kg of DEHP could significantly decrease the sperm motility. Based on our findings, DEHP significantly reduced the production and count of sperms; these toxic effects were associated with alterations in the serum hormone levels. In the DEHP group, a significant reduction was reported in the serum testosterone, FSH, and LH levels. LA improved DEHP-induced changes in hormonal levels and sperm index. According to our findings, treatment with DEHP triggered histopathological changes and oxidative stress, which were normalized by LA pretreatment. In conclusion, DEHP disrupts the testicular function in rats, at least partly through induction of oxidative stress. On the other hand, LA exhibits potential protective effects on testicular toxicity inducedby DEHP.