Protective effect of L-carnitine and L-arginine against busulfan-induced oligospermia in adult rat

Andrologia. 2018 Feb;50(1). doi: 10.1111/and.12806. Epub 2017 Apr 25.


Busulfan is an anticancer drug caused variety of adverse effects for patients with cancer. But it could cause damage to the male reproductive system as one of its adverse effects. This study aimed to investigate the protective effect of L-carnitine and L-arginine on semen quality, oxidative stress parameters and testes cell energy after busulfan treatment. Adult male rats were divided into four groups: control (Con), busulfan (Bus), busulfan plus L-arginine (Bus + L-arg) and busulfan plus L-carnitine (Bus + L-car). After 28 days, the semen was collected from the epididymis and the testes were assessed. Sperm count, motility and velocity were measured by CASA, and smears were prepared for assessment of sperm morphology. Serum and testes supernatants were separated for DNA metabolites, oxidative stress and cell energy parameters. Testes tissues also subjected for caspase-3. The results showed significant improvement in sperm morphology, motility, velocity and count in the groups treated with L-arginine and L-carnitine and accompanied with an increase in MDA, GSSG and ATP, reduction in GSH, AMP, ADP, NO and 8-OHDG also recorded. These results are supported by caspase-3.

Conclusions: Administration of L-arg and L-car attenuated the cytotoxic effects of busulfan by improving semen parameters, reducing oxidative stress and maintaining cell energy.

Keywords: Busulfan; l-arginine; l-carnitine; oligospermia.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arginine / pharmacology
  • Arginine / therapeutic use*
  • Busulfan*
  • Carnitine / pharmacology
  • Carnitine / therapeutic use*
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Oligospermia / chemically induced
  • Oligospermia / drug therapy*
  • Oligospermia / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects*
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Malondialdehyde
  • Arginine
  • Caspase 3
  • Busulfan
  • Glutathione
  • Carnitine