Ameliorative effect of propolis on the cadmium-induced reproductive toxicity in male albino rats

Exp Mol Pathol. 2016 Oct;101(2):207-213. doi: 10.1016/j.yexmp.2016.08.004. Epub 2016 Aug 29.


Propolis is a potent antioxidant and a free radical scavenger. The present study aimed to investigate protective effects of propolis extract on cadmium-induced testicular damage, apoptosis, HIF-1α expression and toxicity in rat's testis tissue. A total of 32 male rats were equally divided into four study groups namely, control, Cd (1mg/kg/day), Cd+propolis (50mg/kg/day) and propolis. The rats were decapitated under ketamine anesthesia and their testes tissues were removed. Serum testosterone, tissue malondialdehyde and HIF-1α levels, HIF-1α expression, apoptosis and histopathological damage scores were then compared. In the Cd group, the diameters of seminiferous tubules, tubular biopsy score of Johnsen and serum testosterone levels were decreased compared control group, but tissue HIF-1α and tissue MDA levels was higher than control group. The immunoreactivity of HIF-1α and the number of apoptotic cells were increased in Cd group. Furthermore, the propolis treated group showed an improved histological appearance in the Cd group. Thus, the results suggest that propolis acts as a potent protective agent against Cd-induced testicular toxicity in rats.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Cadmium; HIF-1α; Propolis; Testis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Biopsy
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cadmium / toxicity*
  • Cell Count
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Propolis / pharmacology*
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Seminiferous Tubules / drug effects
  • Seminiferous Tubules / pathology
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Testis / drug effects
  • Testis / pathology
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Hif1a protein, rat
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • Phenols
  • Cadmium
  • Testosterone
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Propolis