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Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2018 Jun;45(6):573-580. doi: 10.1111/1440-1681.12895. Epub 2018 Jan 8.

Resveratrol protects Leydig cells from nicotine-induced oxidative damage through enhanced autophagy.

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Centre of Reproductive Medicine, Luoyang Central Hospital Affiliated to Zhengzhou University, Luoyang, Henan, China.
The Reproductive Medicine Centre, Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital, Zibo, Shandong, China.
Department of Urology, The First People's Hospital of Xianyang City, Xianyang, Shaanxi, China.


Some studies have revealed that nicotine can damage the male reproductive system through various means including oxidative stress, which is a primary factor in the pathogenesis of male infertility. The strong anti-oxidative capacity of resveratrol has been demonstrated previously, but its role in the context of male reproduction remains inconclusive. To explore the biological role of resveratrol in protecting male reproductive function and the potential underlying mechanism, nicotine-induced Leydig cells were used as a cell model of oxidative damage. The data showed that resveratrol treatment increased cell viability, SOD activity and anti-apoptotic activity in nicotine-stressed Leydig cells. This effect was accompanied by the upregulation of autophagy, which was illustrated by MDC-LysoTracker red staining. Moreover, pretreating with 3-methyladenine (3-MA), an autophagy inhibitor, attenuated resveratrol-induced Leydig cells autophagy and promoted apoptosis. Apart from this, resveratrol enhanced AMPK phosphorylation but reduced mTOR phosphorylation. Subsequently, upon inhibiting AMPK phosphorylation by AMPK inhibitors, Leydig cell autophagy induced by resveratrol was obviously abolished. In conclusion, resveratrol may exert its cytoprotective role against oxidative injury by the activation of autophagy via AMPK/mTOR pathway.


Leydig cells; autophagy; nicotine; oxidative damage; resveratrol


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