MitoQ ameliorates testis injury from oxidative attack by repairing mitochondria and promoting the Keap1-Nrf2 pathway


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Abstract

Mitochondrial dysfunctions induced by oxidative stress could play a pivotal role in the development of testicular damage and degeneration, leading to impaired fertility in adulthood. MitoQ as mitochondria-targeted antioxidant has been used in many diseases for a long time, but its therapeutic effects on testicular injury 'have not been reported yet. Here, we examined the protective action mechanism of MitoQ on testicular injury from oxidative stress induced by triptolide (TP). Mice were orally administrated with MitoQ (1.3, 2.6 and 5 .2mg/kg, respectively) in a TP-induced model of testicular damage for 14 days. And then testis injuries were comprehensively evaluated in terms of morphological changes, spermatogenesis assessment, blood-testis barrier (BTB) integrity, and apoptosis. The results demonstrated MitoQ effectively increased testicular weight, maintained the integrity of BTB, protected microstructure of testicular tissue and sperm morphology by inhibition of oxidative stress. Further mechanism studies revealed that MitoQ markedly activates the Keap1-Nrf2 antioxidative defense system characterized by increasing the expression of Nrf2 and its target genes HO-1 and NQO1. Meanwhile, MitoQ upregulated the expression of mitochondrial dynamics proteins Mfn2 and Drp-1and exerted a protective effect on mitochondria. On this basis, the results from pharmacokinetic study indicated that the MitoQ could enter into testis tissues after oral administration in despite of the low absolute bioavailability, which provided the material basis for MitoQ in the treatment of testicular damage. More importantly, MitoQ reached mitochondria quickly and had an outstanding feature of mitochondria targeting in Sertoli cells. Therefore, these results provide information for the application of MitoQ against testicular injury diseases.Graphical abstractHighlightsMitoQ inhibits oxidative stress to attenuate the testis injury.MitoQ upregulates mitochondrial dynamics protein Mfn2 and Drp-1.MitoQ activates Nrf2/Keap1 signaling to ameliorate the oxidative stress.MitoQ could be exposed to testis tissue by pharmacokinetic study.MitoQ is quickly accumulated in mitochondria of sertoli cells.

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