Simulated microgravity activates apoptosis and NF-κB in mice testis

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Microgravity is known to have significant effect on all aspects of reproductive function in animal models. Recent studies have also shown that microgravity induces changes at the cellular level, including apoptosis. Our effort here was to study the effect of simulated microgravity on caspase-8 and the caspase-3 activities, the effectors of the apoptotic pathway and on the transcription factor NF-κB a signaling molecule in mouse testis. Morey-Holton hind limb suspension model was used to simulate microgravity. Caspase-8 and 3 fluorometric assays were carried out and HLS mice testis exhibited a 51% increase in caspase-8 and caspase-3 compared to the controls. A sandwich ELISA-based immunoassay was carried out for detection of NF-κB which again significantly increased in the test mice. Testosterone levels were measured using an ELISA kit and in HLS mice the decrease was significant. There was also a significant decrease in testis weight in the test mice. Simulated microgravity activates caspase 8, 3 and NF-κB necessary to stimulate the apoptotic pathway in mice testis. This may account for the drop in testis weight and testosterone level further affecting testicular physiology and function.

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