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Effect of aging and hypertension on the sperm quality and testis microcirculation of rats

Grant number: 20/12616-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2021
Effective date (End): May 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Physiology - Physiology of Organs and Systems
Principal Investigator:Stephen Fernandes de Paula Rodrigues
Grantee:Nicolle Rakanidis Machado
Host Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Semen quality has gained visibility as a biomarker of the men's global health. Several diseases change sperm quality and is observed in parallel that men with poor semen quality are in greater risk of dying the next years compared to men with good semen health. Among diseases that affect sperm, hypertension is highlighted due to its high prevalence; it is usually more severe in men, underdiagnosed, and hard to chronically manage. Besides erectile dysfunction, it has been observed in hypertensive men compromised semen quality, mainly in those up to 50 years old, and that seems to be related to changes in testis microcirculation, particularly enhanced vasomotricity in testis after norepinephrine stimulus, what may potentiate tissue hypoxia as we recently demonstrated in an experimental model of hypertension. Besides hypertension, aging is another condition that may affect testis microcirculation. Aging is characterized by a simultaneous damage of several interconnected cell processes, such as: proteostasis dysregulation, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, telomere shortening, accumulation of DNA damage, and excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Several of those alterations are observed in hypertensive patients, even youngers. Then, either hypertension or aging can damage the men's reproductive system, but it is still unknown the effect of both risk factors together on the sperm quality and testis microcirculation. Thus, we aim to answer that question. To do that, we will use both young male adults (20 to 24 week- old) and older (60 to 66 week-old) normotensive Wistar and spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). The following parameters will be assayed: (I) Indirect blood pressure measurement; (II) In vivo study of the testis microcirculation by intravital microscopy, in which the following parameters will be measured: vasomotricity, leukocyte adhesion and ROS presence; (III) hypoxia and ROS-related protein expression by western blotting; and (IV) sperm quality.

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