The study investigated the effects of quercetin and putative mechanisms involved against endosulfan-testicular impairments in rats. Rats were allotted into five treatment groups (n = 5). Groups 1-2 had normal saline and maize oil (vehicle) (10 mL/kg), group 3 received quercetin (20 mg/kg), 4-5 had endosulfan (5 mg/kg, p.o) orally for 28 days. However, from days 14-28, group 4 received an additional dose of vehicle (10 mL/kg, p.o./day), while group 5 received quercetin (20 mg/kg, p.o./day). Thereafter, blood samples and testes were harvested for markers of cholinergic, hormonal and testicular oxido-nitrergic, inflammatory, apoptosis and proton pump ATPase activities. Also, testicular histopathological changes were also evaluated alongside with germ cell count, testicular injury and spermatogenesis score. Quercetin increased testicular/body weights and spermatogenesis, androgenic hormones (follicle stimulating hormones, FSH; luteinizing hormone, LH; testosterone), acetylcholinesterase levels and attenuated altered membrane integrity, DNA fragmentation, increased caspases-3 levels in rats exposed to endosulfan. Moreover, quercetin increased testicular B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2), Bcl-2 associated x-protein (Bax) and proton pump adenosine trisphosphate (ATPase) and sialic acid levels. Of note, quercetin reversed endosulfan-mediated increased malondialdehyde, nitrite, peroxynitrite formation, 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine and lowered antioxidant enzymes in the testes. The increased levels of testicular myeloperoxidase (MPO), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) by endosulfan were also reduced by quercetin administration. Additionally, quercetin attenuate endosulfan-induced testicular histopathological changes of rats. Our findings showed that quercetin significantly inhibited endosulfan-induced testicular damage and altered spermatogenesis through inhibition of oxido-nitrergic pathway, inflammatory mediators, apoptosis, acetylcholinesterase activity and enhancement of testicular hormones and improvement in testicular ATPase activity.
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