Insight into the mechanism of aspartame-induced toxicity in male reproductive system following long-term consumption in mice model.
Environ Toxicol. 2021 Feb ;36(2):223-237. Epub 2020 Sep 20. PMID: 32951320
Aspartame is one of the most common consumed artificial sweeteners utilized in many food products and beverages. It has been indicated that long-term consumption of aspartame leads to reproductive toxicity but its mechanism is not well-clear. In this study we investigated mechanism of aspartame-induced reproductive toxicity in male mice. For this purpose, 36 NMRI mature male mice received three doses of 40, 80, and 160 mg/kg body weight of aspartame, respectively per day by gavage for 90 days and also a control group was considered which received 0.5 mL of normal saline as the same route. The results revealed that long-term administration of aspartame at high doses significantly (P < .05) reduced gonadosomatic index, serum concentration of pituitary-testicular axis hormones (FSH, LH, and testosterone). It also decreased sperm parameters and total antioxidant capacity, antioxidant enzyme activities (superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase), while it caused increase in nitric oxide and malondialdehyde levels in testis tissue and sperm samples. Also, it decreased attenuated testicular histomorphometric indices (tubular differentiation index, spermiogenesis index, and repopulation index), and steroidogenic foci, while increased mRNA damages and apoptosisrate, downregulated antiapoptotic (Bcl-2) and upregulated proapoptotic (P53, BAX, and caspase-3) mediators respectively in testis. These findings indicated that consumption of aspartame for a long period results in male reproductive toxicity by decrease in serum concentration of pituitary-testis axis hormones and induction of oxidative stress and apoptosis in testis.