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Impact of maternal overweight on the sexual maturity of male offspring in rats

Galarza, Rocío Alejandra, Rhon-Calderón, Eric Alejandro, Bizzozero, Marianne, Meneghini, María Agustina, Cortez, Analía Elisabeth, Lux-Lantos, Victoria Adela, Faletti, Alicia Graciela
The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 2019 v.71 pp. 27-34
Leydig cells, Sertoli cells, blood glucose, cafeterias, diet, longevity, males, overweight, progeny, rats, reproductive performance, seminiferous epithelium, sexual maturity, sperm motility, spermatogenesis, spermatogonia, spermatozoa, testosterone
The aims of the present work were to study the effect of maternal overweight on both the count and quality of sperm of the offspring and to assess whether this maternal condition is able to alter testicular integrity and spermatogenic process. To this end, male offspring from rats fed a standard (OSD) or cafeteria (OCD) diet were used. Body and testis weight, length, preputial separation and ano-genital distance (AGD) were recorded and testes were removed at 60 days of age. In addition, the number of germ, Leydig and Sertoli cells, spermatogenesis and sperm integrity were examined. The OCD rats were divided into two groups: offspring from rats with 25% and≥35% of overweight (OCD25 and OCD35, respectively). Both OCD groups showed higher body and testis weight, higher length, and greater AGD than OSD rats. OCD25 also showed early preputial separation and OCD35 exhibited a high level of testosterone with normal glycemia. Both OCD25 and OCD35 rats had a lower number of spermatozoa and Leydig cells than OSD rats, and OCD35 also exhibited a lower number of spermatogonia and Sertoli cells than OSD rats. In addition, both OCD groups exhibited lower number of sperm cells with normal morphology and sperm motility, and OCD35 showed changes in both the seminiferous epithelium and spermatogenic process. These results suggest that maternal overweight severely affects the reproductive capacity of male offspring, likely leading to a subfertility condition and a premature reduction of the reproductive life span.