Thymoquinone ameliorated elevated inflammatory cytokines in testicular tissue and sex hormones imbalance induced by oral chronic toxicity with sodium nitrite

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Scientific evidence illustrated the health hazards of exposure to nitrites for prolonged time. Nitrites affected several body organs due to oxidative, inflammatory and apoptosis properties. Furthermore, thymoquinone (TQ) had curative effects against many diseases. We tried to discover the impact of both sodium nitrite and TQ on inflammatory cytokines contents in testicular tissues and hormonal balance both in vivo and in vitro. Fifty adult male SD rats received 80 mg/kg sodium nitrite and treated with either 25 or 50 mg/kg TQ daily by oral-gavage for twelve weeks. Testis were removed for sperms’ count. Testicular tissue homogenates were used for assessment of protein and gene expression of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, Nrf2 and caspase-3. Serum samples were used for measurement of testosterone, LH, FSH and prolactin. Moreover, all the parameters were measured in human normal testis cell-lines, CRL-7002. Sodium nitrite produced significant decrease in serum testosterone associated with raised FSH, LH and prolactin. Moreover, sodium nitrite significantly elevated TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, caspase-3 and reduced Nrf2. TQ significantly reversed all these effects both in vivo and in vitro. In conclusion, TQ ameliorated testicular tissue inflammation and restored the normal balance of sex hormones induced by sodium nitrite both in vivo and in vitro.

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