Downregulation of vdac2 inhibits spermatogenesis via JNK and P53 signalling in mice exposed to cadmium.

Author(s) Fang, Y.; Zhang, L.; Dong, X.; Wang, H.; He, L.; Zhong, S.
Journal Toxicol Lett
Date Published 2020 Jun 15

Previous studies have reported the reproductive toxicity of cadmium (Cd); however, the effect of Cd on spermatogenesis and the underlying mechanism remain to be elucidated. In this study, mouse Leydig TM3 cells were treated with CdCl (0, 5, 10 and 50 μM) for 24 h to evaluate cytotoxicity, and C57BL/6 mice were treated intragastrically with 0.4 mL CdCl (0, 0.01, 0.05 and 0.1 g/L) for 2 months to investigate changes in spermatogenesis. The results showed that Cd aggravated apoptosis and proliferation in a dose-dependent manner, concomitant with deteriorated spermatogenesis and testosterone synthesis. For mechanism exploration, RNA-seq was used to profile alterations in gene expression in response to Cd, and the results indicated focus on P53/JNK signalling pathways and membrane proteins. We found that P53/JNK signalling pathways were activated upon Cd treatment, with the Cd-triggered downregulation of the vdac2 gene. P53/JNK pathway blockade ameliorated the Cd-induced inhibition of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (STAR) expression and testosterone synthesis. Additionally, vdac2 knockdown in TM3 cells contributed to the phosphorylation of JNK/P53 and reduced the testosterone content. Vdac2 overexpression rescued the aforementioned Cd-induced events. Collectively, our study identified an innovative biomarker of Cd exposure in mice. The results demonstrated that vdac2 downregulation inhibits spermatogenesis via the JNK/P53 cascade. This finding may contribute to our understanding of the regulatory mechanism of Cd reproductive toxicity and provide a candidate list for sperm abnormality factors and pathways.

DOI 10.1016/j.toxlet.2020.03.011
Keywords Animals; Apoptosis; Cadmium; Cell Proliferation; Down-Regulation; Male; Mice; Mice, Inbred C57BL; Signal Transduction; Spermatogenesis; Voltage-Dependent Anion Channel 2
ISSN 1879-3169
Citation Toxicol Lett. 2020;326:114122.