Background: Saccharin is an artificial non-caloric sweetener that used to sweeten products such as drinks, candies, medicines, and toothpaste, but our bodies cannot metabolize it. Sodium saccharin is considered as an important factor in tumor promotion in male rats but not in humans.
Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of saccharin consumption on sperm parameters and apoptosis in adult mice.
Materials and methods: Totally 14 adult male mice were divided into 2 groups. Group 1 served as control fed on basal diet and group 2 or experimental animals received distilled water containing saccharin (0.2% w/v) for 35 days. After that, the left cauda epididymis of each mouse was cut and placed in Ham's F10. Swimmed-out spermatozoa were used to analyze count, motility, morphology (Pap-staining) and viability (eosin-Y staining). Sperm DNA integrity, as an indicator of apoptosis, was assessed by SCD (sperm chromatin dispersion) and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TUNEL) assay.
Results: Following saccharin consumption, we had a reduction in sperm motility with respect to control animals (p=0.000). In addition, the sperm count diminished (17.70±1.11 in controls vs. 12.80±2.79 in case group, p=0.003) and the rate of sperm normal morphology decreased from 77.00±6.40 in control animals into 63.85±6.81 in saccharin-treated mice (p=0.001). Also, we saw a statistically significant increase in rates of sperm DNA damage and apoptosis in experimental group when compared to control one (p=0.001, p=0.002 respectively).
Conclusion: Saccharin consumption may have negative effects on sperm parameters, and increases the rate of sperm DNA fragmentation and apoptosis in mice.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Mice; Saccharin; Sperm.