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Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2019 Aug 25;44(8):566-70. doi: 10.13702/j.1000-0607.180790.

[Electroacupuncture intervention increases testosterone level of aged rats by activating ERK/Nrf2/HO-1 signaling of Leydig cells].

[Article in Chinese]

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Prevention and Cure of Metabolic Diseases, College of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400016, China.
2
Department of Rehabilitation, Affiliated Rehabilitation Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400050.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To observe the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) on anti-oxidant function of Leydig cells in aged rats with low testosterone, so as to reveal its underlying mechanism of anti-aging of male reproduction.

METHODS:

Eighteen 20 months old SD rats were divided into aged control, medication and EA groups(n=6 in each group), and other 6 young male SD rats (2 months of age) were used as the youth control group. The rats of the youth and the aged control groups received subcutaneous injection of 0.9% normal saline (7 mg·kg-1·3 d-1) for 8 weeks, and those of the medication group received abdominal subcutaneous injection of Testosterone Propionate (7 mg·kg-1·3 d-1) for 8 weeks. EA (2 Hz/100 Hz, 1 mA) was applied to bilateral "Shenshu" (BL23) and "Guanyuan" (CV4) for 15 min, once daily for 8 weeks except the weekends. The levels of serum total testosterone (TT) and free testosterone (FT) were determined by enzyme linked immune sorbent assay (ELISA), the immunoactivity of phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (p-ERK) was detected by immunohistochemistry, and the expression levels of ERK, p-ERK, nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) proteins in the testis tissues were determined by Western blot.

RESULTS:

Before and after the treatment, the levels of serum TT and FT in the aged control group were significantly lower than those of the youth control group (P<0.01). After the treatment, the serum TT and FT contents in the EA and medication groups were obviously higher than those in the aged control group (P<0.01). Compared with the youth control group, the expression levels of ERK, p-ERK, Nrf2 and HO-1 proteins were significantly down-regulated in the aged control group (P<0.01), while in comparison with the aged control group, the expression levels of ERK, p-ERK, Nrf2 and HO-1 proteins were significantly up-regulated in the medication and EA groups (P<0.01). The therapeutic effect of EA was notably superior to that of medication in up-regulating the immunoactivity of p-ERK, and the expression levels of ERK, p-ERK, Nrf2 and HO-1 proteins (P<0.01). No significant differences were found between the EA and medication groups in the increased levels of serum TT and FT after the intervention (P>0.05).

CONCLUSION:

EA intervention may increase testosterone level of the aged rats, which may be related to its effects in triggering ERK /Nrf2 /HO-1 signaling (anti-oxidative stress signal pathway) in the testis.

KEYWORDS:

Anti-oxidant function; Electroacupuncture; Leydig cell of testis; Male reproductive aging

PMID:
31475489
DOI:
10.13702/j.1000-0607.180790
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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