The wide abuse of the anabolic steroid nandrolone decanoate by athletes and adolescents for enhancement of sporting performance and physical appearance may be associated with testicular toxicity and infertility. On the other hand, taurine; a free β-amino acid with remarkable antioxidant activity, is used in taurine-enriched beverages to boost the muscular power of athletes. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the mechanisms of the possible protective effects of taurine on nandrolone decanoate-induced testicular and sperm toxicity in rats. To achieve this aim, male Wistar rats were randomly distributed into four groups and administered either vehicle, nandrolone decanoate (10mg/kg/week, I.M.), taurine (100mg/kg/day, p.o.) or combination of taurine and nandrolone decanoate, for 8 successive weeks. Results of the present study showed that taurine reversed nandrolone decanoate-induced perturbations in sperm characteristics, normalized serum testosterone level, and restored the activities of the key steroidogenic enzymes; 3β-HSD, and 17β-HSD. Moreover, taurine prevented nandrolone decanoate-induced testicular toxicity and DNA damage by virtue of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic effects. This was evidenced by taurine-induced modulation of testicular LDH-x activity, redox markers (MDA, NO, GSH contents, and SOD activity), inflammatory indices (TNF-α, ICAM-1 levels, and MMP-9 gene expression), intrinsic apoptotic pathway (cytochrome c gene expression and caspase-3 content), and oxidative DNA damage markers (8-OHdG level and comet assay). In conclusion, at the biochemical and histological levels, taurine attenuated nandrolone decanoate-induced poor sperm quality and testicular toxicity in rats.
Keywords: Cytochrome c; ICAM-1; MMP-9; Nandrolone decanoate; Steroidogenesis; Taurine.
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