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Abstract

Volume 25, Issue 3 (May 2023) 25, 426–432; 10.4103/aja202290

Male reproductive system and simulated high-altitude environment: preliminary results in rats

Xiu-Yun Li1, Mei-Hua Zhang1, Zhao-Wen Chen2, Bin Zhang3, Gang Bai4, He-Feng Wang5

1 Key Laboratory of Birth Regulation and Control Technology of National Health Commission of China, Shandong Provincial Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital Affiliated to Qingdao University, Jinan 250014, China
    2 Department of Obstetrics, Shandong Provincial Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital Affiliated to Qingdao University, Jinan 250014, China
    3 Department of Ophthalmology, Shandong Provincial Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital Affiliated to Qingdao University, Jinan 250014, China
    4 Center for Reproductive Medicine, Shandong University, Jinan 250012, China
    5 Department of Pediatric Surgery, Shandong Provincial Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital Affiliated to Qingdao University, Jinan 250014, China
    
    

Correspondence: Dr. G Bai (baigang0078@163.com) or Dr. HF Wang (whf-139@163.com)

02-Dec-2022

Abstract

This study assessed the effects of a simulated high-altitude environment on the reproductive system of prepubertal male rats and the reversibility of these effects upon return to a normal environment. Three-week-old male Wistar rats were randomly allocated to 4 groups that were exposed to different conditions: a normal environment for 6 weeks and 12 weeks, respectively, hypobaric hypoxia for 6 weeks, and hypobaric hypoxia for 6 weeks followed by a normal environment for 6 weeks. Multiple pathophysiological parameters were evaluated at the histological, endocrine, and molecular levels. Hypobaric hypoxia exposure for 6 weeks during the prepubertal phase significantly altered physiological parameters, body functions, blood indices, and reproductive potential. Six weeks after returning to a normal environment, the damaged reproductive functions partially recovered due to compensatory mechanisms. However, several changes were not reversed after returning to a normal environment for 6 weeks, including disorders of body development and metabolism, increased red blood cells, increased fasting blood glucose, abnormal blood lipid metabolism, decreased testicular and epididymis weights, abnormal reproductive hormone levels, excessive apoptosis of reproductive cells, and decreased sperm concentration. In summary, a hypobaric hypoxic environment significantly impaired the reproductive function of prepubertal male rats, and a return to normal conditions during the postpubertal phase did not fully recover these impairments.
    
    Keywords: high altitude; hypobaric hypoxia; male rats; reproductive potential; testis

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Asian Journal of Andrology CN 31-1795/R ISSN 1008-682X  Copyright © 2023  Shanghai Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences.  All rights reserved.