The effect of ghrelin pretreatment on epididymal sperm quality and tissue antioxidant enzyme activities after testicular ischemia/reperfusion in rats.
ABSTRACT Ghrelin, the endogenous ligand for growth hormone secretagogue receptor, has been reported to prevent ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in various tissues by its antioxidant activity. Therefore, this study was aimed to investigate the effect of ghrelin on sperm quality and antioxidant enzyme activity in a rat testicular ischemia/reperfusion injury model. Forty-two male Wistar rats were divided into groups control, I/R, and I/R plus ghrelin. The right testes were rotated 720° for 1 h and were allowed to reperfuse for 4 h and 30 days thereafter. Ghrelin (40 nmol/kg IP) or vehicle (physiological saline) was administrated 15 min before reperfusion. After 4 h of reperfusion, a right orchiectomy was performed to measure the biochemical parameters. In addition, the sperm was collected from the epididymis after 30 days of reperfusion, and sperm characteristics were examined. The malondialdehyde levels of the testis tissues were significantly increased, but a statistically significant decrease was found in the superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase activities in the I/R group as compared with the control, indicating I/R injury. The sperm evaluation showed a significant reduction in all characteristics resulted from I/R compared with the control. In the ghrelin-treated group, the malondialdehyde values were significantly lowered, and only enzyme activity of glutathione peroxidase showed significant increases compared with the I/R group. Ghrelin significantly enhanced sperm motility, movement, and concentration but did not prevent I/R-induced reduction in membrane integrity in the testes of rats compared to the I/R group. Our results suggest that ghrelin treatment has a protective role on IR-induced testicular injury, and this effect may be due to its antioxidant properties.