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Volume 23, Issue 3 (May 2021) 23, 281–287; 10.4103/aja.aja_81_20

Glutathione (GSH) improves sperm quality and testicular morphology in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice

Fathiah Abdullah1,2, Mohamed Noor Khan Nor-Ashikin1,3, Renu Agarwal4, Yuhaniza Shafinie Kamsani1,3, Mastura Abd Malek1, Nor Salmah Bakar3, Aqila-Akmal Mohammad Kamal1, Mimi-Sophia Sarbandi1,2, Nor-Shahida Abdul Rahman1,5, Nurul Huda Musa6

1 Maternofetal and Embryo Research Group (MatE), Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Selangor Branch, Sungai Buloh Campus, Sungai Buloh 47000, Selangor, Malaysia
2 Faculty of Applied Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Perak Branch, Tapah Campus, Tapah Road 35400, Perak, Malaysia
3 Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Selangor Branch, Sungai Buloh Campus, Sungai Buloh 47000, Selangor, Malaysia
4 School of Medicine, International Medical University, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur 57000, Malaysia
5 Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Selangor Branch, Puncak Alam Campus, Bandar Puncak Alam 42300, Selangor, Malaysia
6 Centre of Foundation Studies, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Selangor Branch, Dengkil Campus, Dengkil 43800, Selangor, Malaysia

Correspondence: Dr. MNK Nor-Ashikin (noras011@uitm.edu.my)

Date of Submission 23-Apr-2020 Date of Acceptance 30-Oct-2020 Date of Web Publication 15-Jan-2021


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is known to cause reproductive impairment. In men, it has been linked to altered sperm quality and testicular damage. Oxidative stress (OS) plays a pivotal role in the development of DM complications. Glutathione (GSH) is a part of a nonenzymatic antioxidant defense system that protects lipid, protein, and nucleic acids from oxidative damage. However, the protective effects of exogenous GSH on the male reproductive system have not been comprehensively examined. This study determined the impact of GSH supplementation in ameliorating the adverse effect of type 1 DM on sperm quality and the seminiferous tubules of diabetic C57BL/6NTac mice. GSH at the doses of 15 mg kg−1 and 30 mg kg−1 was given intraperitoneally to mice weekly for 6 consecutive weeks. The mice were then weighed, euthanized, and had their reproductive organs excised. The diabetic (D Group) showed significant impairment of sperm quality and testicular histology compared with the nondiabetic (ND Group). Diameters of the seminiferous lumen in diabetic mice treated with 15 mg kg−1 GSH (DGSH15) were decreased compared with the D Group. Sperm motility was also significantly increased in the DGSH15 Group. Improvement in testicular morphology might be an early indication of the protective roles played by the exogenous GSH in protecting sperm quality from effects of untreated type 1 DM or diabetic complications. Further investigation using different doses and different routes of GSH is necessary to confirm this suggestion.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus; glutathione; mice; sperm quality; testis histology

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