Signs of ROS-Associated Autophagy in Testis and Sperm in a Rat Model of Varicocele

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2020 Apr 13:2020:5140383. doi: 10.1155/2020/5140383. eCollection 2020.


Since autophagy was suspected to occur in the pathological situation of varicocele (VCL), we have attempted to confirm it here using a surgical model of varicocele-induced rats. Thirty Wistar rats were divided into three groups (varicocele/sham/control) and analyzed two months after the induction of varicocele. Testicular tissue sections and epididymal mature sperm were then monitored for classic features of varicocele, including disturbance of spermatogenesis, impaired testicular carbohydrate and lipid homeostasis, decreased sperm count, increased sperm nuclear immaturity and DNA damage, oxidative stress, and lipid peroxidation. At the same time, we evaluated the Atg7 protein content and LC3-II/LC3-1 protein ratio in testis and mature sperm cells, two typical markers of early and late cellular autophagy, respectively. We report here that testis and mature sperm show higher signs of autophagy in the varicocele group than in the control and sham groups, probably to try to mitigate the consequences of VCL on the testis and germ cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy / drug effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Spermatozoa / pathology*
  • Testis / pathology*
  • Varicocele / complications*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species