Age-related male sexual dysfunction covers a wide variety of issues, together with spermatogenic and testicular impairment. In the present work, the effects of cordycepin (COR), an active constituent of a nutrient powerhouse Cordyceps militaris Linn, on senile testicular dysfunction in rats was investigated. The sperm kinematics, antioxidant enzymes, spermatogenic factors, sex hormone receptors, histone deacetylating sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), and autophagy-related mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) expression in aged rat testes were evaluated. Sprague Dawley rats were divided into young control (2-month-old; YC), aged control (12-month-old; AC), and aged plus COR-treated groups (5 (COR-5), 10 (COR-10), and 20 (COR-20) mg/kg). The AC group showed reduced sperm kinematics and altered testicular histomorphology compared with the YC group (p < 0.05). However, compared with the AC group, the COR-treated group exhibited improved sperm motility, progressiveness, and average path/straight line velocity (p < 0.05-0.01). Alterations in spermatogenesis-related protein and mRNA expression were significantly ameliorated (p < 0.05) in the COR-20 group compared with the AC group. The altered histone deacetylating SIRT1 and autophagy-related mTORC1 molecular expression in aged rats were restored in the COR-20 group (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the results suggest that COR holds immense nutritional potential and therapeutic value in ameliorating age-related male sexual dysfunctions.
Keywords: Cordycepin; SIRT1; antioxidant; mTORC1; sex hormone receptors; spermatogenesis.