Oxidative stress has been linked with sleep deprivation (SD)-induced pathological conditions and reproductive dysfunction. On the other hand, glutamine has been established to have antioxidant property. However, the impact of SD, with or without glutamine, on male reproductive function is yet to be elucidated. Thus, this study was designed to investigate the role of SD, with or without glutamine, on male reproductive function and possible associated mechanisms. Ten-week old male Wistar rats weighing 175.6 g± 0.42 were randomly assigned into vehicle that received per os (p.o.) distilled water, glutamine (1 g/kg; po), SD, and SD + glutamine that received treatments as glutamine and SD. Treatment/exposure lasted for 72 h. The results showed that SD led to reduced body weight, seminiferous luminal and epididymal sperm density, low sperm quality, increased testicular and epididymal malondialdehyde, uric acid, DNA fragmentation, and testicular injury markers. In addition, SD caused a reduction in reduced glutathione level and activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione-S-transferase. Also, SD increased tumor necrotic factor-α, interleukin-1β, and nuclear factor-kappa B levels. Furthermore SD led to impaired libido and erectile dysfunction, and suppression of circulatory nitric oxide, gonadotropins and testosterone, and penile cGMP. However, glutamine attenuated the effects induced by SD. Taken together, the findings of this study demonstrate that SD induces reproductive dysfunction via glutathione-dependent defense depletion and down-regulation of NO/cGMP signaling, which was abolished by glutamine supplementation.
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