International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2018-12-01)

Royal Jelly Abrogates Cadmium-Induced Oxidative Challenge in Mouse Testes: Involvement of the Nrf2 Pathway

  • Rafa S. Almeer,
  • Doaa Soliman,
  • Rami B. Kassab,
  • Gadah I. AlBasher,
  • Saud Alarifi,
  • Saad Alkahtani,
  • Daoud Ali,
  • Dina Metwally,
  • Ahmed E. Abdel Moneim

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 19, no. 12
p. 3979


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The current study examined the efficacy of royal jelly (RJ) against cadmium chloride (CdCl2)-induced testicular dysfunction. A total of 28 Swiss male mice were allocated into four groups (n = 7), and are listed as follows: (1) the control group, who was intraperitoneally injected with physiological saline (0.9% NaCl) for 7 days; (2) the RJ group, who was orally supplemented with RJ (85 mg/kg daily equivalent to 250 mg crude RJ) for 7 days; (3) the CdCl2 group, who was intraperitoneally injected with 6.5 mg/kg for 7 days; and (4) the fourth group, who was supplemented with RJ 1 h before CdCl2 injection for 7 days. Cd-intoxicated mice exhibited a decrease in serum testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. A disturbance in the redox status in the testicular tissue was recorded, as presented by the increase in lipid peroxidation and nitrate/nitrite levels and glutathione (GSH) depletion. Moreover, the activities of glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like-2 factor (Nrf2) and their gene expression were inhibited. In addition, interleukin-1ß (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) levels were elevated. Furthermore, Cd triggered an apoptotic cascade via upregulation of caspase-3 and Bax and downregulation of Bcl-2. Histopathological examination showed degenerative changes in spermatogenic cells, detachment of the spermatogenic epithelium from the basement membrane, and vacuolated seminiferous tubules. Decreased cell proliferation was reflected by a decrease in proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) expression. Interestingly, RJ supplementation markedly minimized the biochemical and molecular histopathological changes in testes tissue in response to Cd exposure. The beneficial effects of RJ could be attributed to its antioxidative properties.