Safflower seed oil improves steroidogenesis and spermatogenesis in rats with type II diabetes mellitus by modulating the genes expression involved in steroidogenesis, inflammation and oxidative stress.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2021 Apr 22 ;275:114139. Epub 2021 Apr 22. PMID: 33894286
ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Diabetes mellitus (DM), as a multiorgan syndrome, is an endocrine and metabolic disorder that is associated with male reproductive system dysfunction and infertility. Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) as an herbal remedy improves DM and infertility-related disorders. The anti-hypercholesterolemic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidative properties of this herb have been well documented, but its role in testosterone production, male reproductive system and zinc homeostasis has not been fully illustrated.
AIM OF THE STUDY: This study aimed to investigate the preventive and therapeutic properties of different doses of safflower seed oil against reproductive damage caused by type II DM by investigating zinc element homeostasis, inflammation and oxidative damage in testis tissue and their relationship with testosterone production and sperm parameters.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eighty adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into eight groups and treated daily for 12 and 24 weeks in protective and therapeutic studies, respectively. Type II DM was induced by a High Fat Diet (HFD) in normoglycemic rats for three months. At the end of each study, serum level of glucose, testosterone, gonadotropins, TNF-α, insulin, and leptin were measured. Moreover, antioxidant enzymes activity, lipid peroxidation, zinc and testosterone along with the expression of Nrf-2, NF-κB, TNF-α, StAR, P450scc, and 17βHSD3 genes in the testis were detected.
RESULTS: After the intervention, the activity of antioxidant enzymes and the level of testosterone and gonadotropins significantly decreased in the rats with DM in comparison to the others. However, lipid peroxidation and serum level of insulin, leptin and TNF-α increased and the testicular level of zinc significantly changed in the rats with DM compared to the control groups (p < 0.05). The gene expression of NF-κB and TNF-α were also significantly increased and the gene expression of Nrf2, StAR, P450scc and 17βHSD3 were decreased in the testis of diabetic rats (p < 0.05). The results showed that pretreatment and treatment with safflower seed oil could improve these parameters in diabetic rats compared with untreated diabetic rats (p < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: HFD could impair the production of testosterone and sperm, and reduce gonadotropin by increasing the serum level of leptin and inducing insulin resistance, oxidative stress and inflammation. However, safflower oil in a dose-dependent manner could improve testosterone level and sperm parameters by improving the level of leptin, zinc and insulin resistance, and the genes expression involved in testosterone synthesis, inflammation and oxidative stress.