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Ascorbic acid inhibits cadmium-induced disruption of the blood-testis barrier by regulating oxidative stress-mediated p38 MAPK pathways

Chen, Na, Su, Ping, Wang, Mei, Li, Ya-Min
Environmental science and pollution research international 2018 v.25 no.22 pp. 21713-21720
antagonism, anti-inflammatory activity, ascorbic acid, cadmium, cadmium chloride, catalase, histopathology, malondialdehyde, mitogen-activated protein kinase, occludins, oxidative stress, phosphorylation, protective effect, rats, reactive oxygen species, signal transduction, superoxide dismutase, testes, toxicity, transforming growth factor beta 3, transmission electron microscopy
Ascorbic acid (AA), one of the best-known reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavengers, exhibits numerous functions such as antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory effects. Increasing evidence demonstrates that oxidative stress plays an important role in testicular toxicity. In the present study, we investigated the protective effect of AA against cadmium (Cd)-induced blood-testis barrier (BTB) disruption. Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were divided into four groups: the Cd-treated group received a single dose (s.c.) of 2 mg/kg BW cadmium chloride; the AA antagonism group received an injection of AA at a dose of 400 mg/kg BW (200 mg 24 h prior to Cd treatment and 200 mg 24 h following Cd treatment); and the control groups received an equal volume of saline or an equal dose of AA. As expected, ROS expression was upregulated in the Cd-treated rats, accompanied by an increase in malondialdehyde (MDA). Interestingly, AA suppressed Cd-induced oxidative stress by decreasing the levels of ROS and MDA and increasing the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT). In addition, AA also reduced BTB disruption by inhibiting TGF-β3 activation and p38 MAPK phosphorylation. Significant decreases in occludin and claudin-11 expression were observed in the Cd-treated rats, whereas AA administration attenuated this effect. Moreover, testicular histopathology and transmission electron microscopy further demonstrated the protective effects of AA against Cd-induced BTB damage. In conclusion, the results of the present study suggest that AA protects BTB destruction via the inhibition of oxidative stress and the TGF-β3/p38 MAPK signalling pathway in the testis of Cd-exposed rats.