This study examined the effects of melatonin on leptin-induced changes in sperm parameters in adult rats. Five groups of Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with either leptin or leptin and melatonin or melatonin for 6 weeks. Leptin was given daily via the intraperitoneal route (60 μg kg-1 body weight) and melatonin was given in drinking water (10 mg kg-1 or 20 mg kg-1 body weight per day). Upon completion, sperm count, sperm morphology, 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine, Comet assay, TUNEL assay, gene expression profiles of antioxidant enzymes, respiratory chain reaction enzymes, DNA damage, and apoptosis genes were estimated. Data were analyzed using ANOVA. Sperm count was significantly lower whereas the fraction of sperm with abnormal morphology, the level of 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine, and sperm DNA fragmentation were significantly higher in rats treated with leptin only. Microarray analysis revealed significant upregulation of apoptosis-inducing factor, histone acetyl transferase, respiratory chain reaction enzyme, cell necrosis and DNA repair genes, and downregulation of antioxidant enzyme genes in leptin-treated rats. Real-time polymerase chain reaction showed significant decreases in glutathione peroxidase 1 expression with increases in the expression of apoptosis-inducing factor and histone acetyl transferase in leptin-treated rats. There was no change in the gene expression of caspase-3 (CASP-3). In conclusion, the adverse effects of leptin on sperm can be prevented by concurrent melatonin administration.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.