Resveratrol and L-carnitine affects protamine gene expression and sperm parameters in an azoospermic rat model

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Biology, Shiraz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shiraz, Iran

2 Department of Biology, Kazerun Branch, Islamic Azad University, Kazerun, Iran


The anticancer agent, busulfan, has been reported to adversely affect the male reproductive system such as damaging the sperm parameters. It was shown that L-carnitine and resveratrol can reduce busulfan side effects. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of these agents on the testicular sperm parameters and the expression of the protamine gene in the azoospermic rat model. A total of 78 Sprague Dawley male rats were included in this study and divided into six groups of thirteen rats: control, L-carnitine plus resveratrol (L-ca + RES), busulfan (BUS), busulfan plus L-carnitine (BUS + L-ca), busulfan plus resveratrol (BUS + RES), and busulfan plus L-carnitine plus RES (BUS + L-ca + RES). After 48 days, the sperm parameters and protamine expression were investigated. The results showed significant improvement in the sperm criteria including the increase in sperm motility, viability, count and the expression level of protamine as well as the decrease in abnormal morphology and immature sperm percentage after treatment with L-ca and RES compared to BUS treatment. In conclusion, treatment with L-ca, RES and their combination after administration of BUS may be useful to reduce the side effects of BUS on male fertility by improving the sperm quality. Moreover, our data indicated that the combination of L-ca + BUS + RES was more effective in regulating the cytotoxic effects of busulfan. Hence, we can consider the L-ca and RES as beneficial agents to attenuate the adverse effects of the BUS.

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