Ghrelin attenuates heat-induced degenerative effects in the rat testis.
ABSTRACT This study was conducted to examine the efficacy of ghrelin in prevention of deleterious effects of heat stress in rat testicular tissue. Forty five adult male rats were scheduled for this study and were divided equally into three groups: heat-saline, heat-ghrelin and control-saline. The scrota of heated-designed rats were immersed once in water bath at 43 °C for 15 min. Immediately upon heating, 2 nmol of ghrelin were given subcutaneously to heat-ghrelin animals every other day up to day 60 and physiological saline to the other two groups using the same method. The animals were sacrificed at 10, 30 and 60 days after heat treatment and their testes were taken for later photomicrograph and immunohistochemical analysis. Testicular histopathology revealed a significant reduction in the means of seminiferous tubules and Sertoli cell nucleus diameters as well as germinal epithelium height on day 10 in both heated groups. Furthermore, other testicular components including miotic index, spermatogenesis rate, presence of spermatocytes and volume densities were dramatically decreased following heat exposure. Notably, ghrelin caused a partial recovery in all of the above-mentioned parameters and accelerated testicular regeneration process by day 30 compared to the heat-saline group (P<0.05). Because of testicular progressive recovery, these indices were similar among groups on day 60 (P>0.05). However, immunohistochemistry evaluation for in situ detection of Bcl-2 protein did not exhibit any germ cells-positive of this factor among groups at different experimental days. In conclusion, the results of the present study indicate for the first time the novel evidences of ghrelin ability in attenuation of heat-induced testicular damage and also that ghrelin therapy may be useful as a suppressor of degenerative effects following testicular hyperthermia.