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Clin Exp Reprod Med. 2016 Jun;43(2):90-6. doi: 10.5653/cerm.2016.43.2.90. Epub 2016 Jun 23.

Dietary supplementation with astaxanthin may ameliorate sperm parameters and DNA integrity in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.

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Endometrium and Endometriosis Research Center, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.
Nutrition Health research center, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.; Department of Nutrition, School of Medicine, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.
Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Anatomical Sciences, School of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran.



Diabetes mellitus (DM) is known to cause many systemic complications as well as male infertility. Astaxanthin (ASTX) is a powerful antioxidant that is involved in a variety of biologically active processes, including those with anti-diabetes effects. The present study investigates the effect of ASTX on the spermatozoa function in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats.


We divided 30 adult rats into three groups (10 rats per group), with a control group that received corn oil mixed with chow. DM was induced by intra-peritoneal injection of STZ. Eight weeks after the STZ injection, half of the diabetic animals were used as diabetic controls, and the rest were treated with ASTX for 56 days. Then the parameters and chromatin integrity of the epididymal sperm were analyzed using chromomycin A3, toluidine blue (TB), and acridine orange (AO) staining.


The count, viability, and motility of the epididymal sperm were decreased significantly in the STZ group in comparison with the control group (count and viability, p<0.001; motility, p<0.001;0.01). ASTX increased normal morphology and viable spermatozoa compared to the STZ group (morphology, p=0.001; viability, p<0.001;0.05). The percentage of abnormal chromatins in TB and AO staining was higher in the STZ group compared to the control group (p<0.001;0.001). The mean percentage of TB and AO positive spermatozoa in STZ rats was significantly lower in the STZ+ASTX group (TB, p=0.001; AO, p<0.001;0.05).


This study observed that in vivo ASTX treatment partially attenuates some detrimental effect of diabetes. Conversely, ASTX improved sperm viability, normal morphology, and DNA integrity.


Astaxanthin; Chromatin; Diabetes mellitus; Sperm; Streptozotocin

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