The toxicity of sodium fluoride (NaF) to female fertility is currently recognized; however, the mechanisms are unclear. Previously, we reported a reduction in successful pregnancy rates, ovarian atrophy and dysfunction following exposure to NaF. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms. Female Sprague-Dawley rats (10 rats/group) received 100 or 200mg/L NaF in their drinking water for 6 months or were assigned to an untreated control group. Apoptotic indices and oxidative stress indicators in blood and ovarian tissue were analyzed following sacrifice. The results confirmed the NaF-induced ovarian apoptosis, with concomitant activation of oxidative stress. Further investigations in ovarian granular cells showed that exposure to NaF activated extracellular regulated protein kinase (ERK) and c-Jun NH2 kinase (JNK), disrupting the ERK and JNK signaling pathways, while p38 and PI3K remained unchanged. These data demonstrated that oxidative stress may play a key role in NaF-induced ovarian dysfunction by activating the apoptotic ERK and JNK signaling pathways.
Keywords: Female reproduction; Ovarian apoptosis; Oxidative stress; Sodium fluoride.
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