SEPSIS PRODUCES DEPRESSION OF TESTOSTERONE AND STEROIDOGENIC ACUTE REGULATORY (StAR) PROTEIN

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

The hypothesis that induction of chronic peritoneal sepsis would produce depression of serum testosterone due to a decrease in Leydig cell steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein or P450c17 steroidogenic enzyme was tested. Male Sprague-Dawley rats (350–400 g) were randomized to septic and nonseptic groups. Sepsis was induced with a cecal slurry (200 mg/kg in 5 mL of 5% dextrose in water (D5W); intraperitoneal) while nonseptic rats received only sterile D5W. Animals (n = 6, in each group) were killed by CO2 asphyxiation and blood samples were collected by direct cardiac puncture at 24 h after induction of sepsis/sham sepsis. The serum concentration of corticosterone, progesterone, estradiol, and testosterone was determined using radioimmunoassay. Western blot analysis was utilized to quantify Leydig cell StAR protein and P450c17 enzyme. Sepsis produced a significant decrease in the serum concentration of testosterone, a down-regulation of StAR protein, and an increase in serum estradiol 24 h after induction of sepsis (as compared with the nonseptic group). Protein levels of P450c17 in Leydig cells and serum concentrations of progesterone and corticosterone 24 h after induction of sham sepsis or sepsis were not different. It is concluded that the decreases in serum testosterone after 24 h of chronic peritoneal sepsis correlated with reductions in StAR protein.

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