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Biological Research

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VARGAS, Álvaro; BUSTOS-OBREGON, Eduardo  and  HARTLEY, Ricardo. Effects of hypoxia on epididymal sperm parameters and protective role of ibuprofen and melatonin. Biol. Res. [online]. 2011, vol.44, n.2, pp.161-167. ISSN 0716-9760.

Hypobaric hypoxia is of interest due to an increase of human populations working at high altitude. Testicular damage is related to the physiological response (neoangiogenesis) to increased intrascrotal blood flow as temperature rises. Hypoxia is a stress factor with overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The effect of hypoxia in mice reproductive parameters is analyzed. Animals were exposed to simulated hypoxia of 4,200 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.) in a chamber for 33.2 days, both to continuous (HH) or intermittent hypoxia (HI) with an intermittency period of 4 days hypoxia /4 days normoxia (500 m.a.s.l.). The anti-inflammatory drug Ibuprofen was administered to a group of mice to control vasodilation and increased blood flow. Melatonin was administered to another group of mice as a potent ROS scavenger. Animals in both HH and HI exposure were compared to normoxic non-treated controls. There was a hematological response in hypoxia, with an increase in hematocrit and reticulocytosis. There was also increased teratozoospermia. This damage was more pronounced in HH than HI, suggesting that alternating normoxic periods permits compensation for the effects of hypoxia. In both hypoxia systems, the level of lipoperoxidation and the instability of DNA increased. In HH, there was a reduction of teratozoospermia in melatonin-treated mice. Ibuprofen presented a protective effect on the same parameters as melatonin with both HI and HH. The quality of sperm DNA, fragmentation, unpacking and DNA stability diminished. In conclusion, reproductive damage elicited by HH or HI was partially ameliorated by simultaneous treatment with antiflogistic and/or antioxidant agents.

Keywords : epididymal sperm; mouse; ibuprofen; melatonin.

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