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Effects of Tripterygium wilfordii multiglycosides on sex hormones and receptors in mandarin vole Leydig cells

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For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Netherlands Journal of Zoology (Vol 18-52).

Multiglycosides of Tripterygium wilfordii (GTW) have been found to exhibit reversible antifertility effects through complex mechanisms. The positive expression of sex hormones and receptors in Leydig cells were investigated following GTW treatment to determine the impact of GTW on male mandarin vole (Microtus mandarinus) fertility. Compared to the control group, body weight, testis and epididymis weight were not affected by GTW, but the number of sperm sharply declined. There were significant decreases in the thickness of seminifeous epithelium and epididymal epithelium, and the diameter of seminiferous tubules. The expression of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) in Leydig cells significantly decreased and estradiol (E) expression significantly increased. Testosterone (T) and androgen receptor (AR) expression were not affected. These results show that GTW may impair fertility in male mandarin voles via interference with spermatogenesis. This may be associated with an alteration in estrogen activation rather than suppression of T and AR in Leydig cells and suggests the estrogen system of Leydig cells is of major importance for the GTW’s antifertility effects.

Affiliations: 1: 1College of Life Sciences, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710062, China

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