Effect of ascorbic acid supplementation on testicular steroidogenesis and germ cell death in cadmium-treated male rats

Ronojoy Sen Gupta, Jisun Kim, Cynthia Gomes, Sungdug Oh, Juran Park, Wook Bin Im, Jae Young Seong, Ryun Sup Ahn, Hyuk Bang Kwon, Jaemog Soh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Cadmium (Cd) is one of the environmental pollutants affecting various tissues and organs including testis. Harmful effect of Cd in testis is known to be germ cell degeneration and impairment of testicular steroidogenesis. Animals treated with high doses of Cd (0.2 and 0.3 mg/100 g BW) showed a significant decrease in serum testosterone (T) level, but a significant induction of testicular lipid peroxidation levels. TUNEL assay showed that low doses of Cd (0.13 and 0.15 mg/100 g BW) exhibited typical characteristics of apoptosis while high doses of Cd caused more necrosis than apoptosis. In contrast, supplementation with ascorbic acid reduced testicular lipid peroxidation levels. Ascorbic acid supplementation restored testicular 3β- hydroxysteroiddehydrogenase (HSD) and 17β-HSD enzyme activities, 3β-HSD and cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage (P450scc) mRNA levels and serum T concentration to normal in Cd-administered rats. Moreover, administration of ascorbic acid prevented germ cell apoptosis as demonstrated by the reduced number of TUNEL-positive cells in germinal epithelium and inhibited Cd-induced necrosis. These results indicate that ascorbic acid have protective roles in vivo on the Cd-induced overall testicular damage including impaired steroidogenesis and germ cell death possibly through scavenging the reactive oxygen species generated by Cd administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Jun 30
Externally publishedYes


  • Ascorbic acid
  • Cadmium
  • Germ cell death
  • Steroidogenesis
  • Testis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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