Quercetin and vitamin E attenuate diabetes-induced testicular anomaly in Wistar rats via the mitochondrial-mediated apoptotic pathway

Andrologia. 2021 Nov;53(10):e14185. doi: 10.1111/and.14185. Epub 2021 Jul 18.


The role of quercetin and vitamin E treatment against streptozotocin (STZ)-induced testicular abnormalities in diabetic rats and the possible mechanism of action they use for protection were investigated. Diabetes was induced by STZ (45 mg/kg i.p. once) and blood glucose was determined. Plasmatic insulin, testosterone, luteinising hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) were determined by ELISA. Levels of cytochrome c, caspase 3 and caspase 9 were evaluated by immunohistochemistry, while lesions were viewed by histology. Insulin played a role in testicular protection against male infertility through modulation of luteinising hormone (LH). This consequently increased Leydig and Sertoli cells and maturation of germ cells with the attached epididymis having abundant spermatozoa. The study showed a positive correlation in the levels of LH, FSH and testosterone; it was further established that all treatments normalised diabetes-induced alterations. Treatment with quercetin and vitamin E resulted in 34% decrease of apoptogenic cytochrome c release. This protected the testes against excessive apoptosis by decreasing caspase 3 and caspase 9 activation by up to 30 and 28% respectively (p < .05). Histology also showed that treatment prevented testicular cell death. The findings show that quercetin/vitamin E possess free radical scavenging properties that protected against testicular damage in diabetes. This suggests the possibility of pharmaco-therapeutic intervention.

Keywords: Vitamin E; apoptosis; diabetes mellitus; quercetin; testes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental* / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Quercetin* / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Testis
  • Testosterone
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology


  • Vitamin E
  • Testosterone
  • Quercetin