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Heat-Stress-Induced Metabolic Changes and Altered Male Reproductive Function

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journal contribution
posted on 06.03.2015, 00:00 by Yuanlong Hou, Xiaoyan Wang, Zhihai Lei, Jihui Ping, jiajian Liu, Zhiyu Ma, Zheng Zhang, Cuicui Jia, Mengmeng Jin, Xiang Li, Xiaoliang Li, Shaoqiu Chen, Yingfang Lv, Yingdong Gao, Wei Jia, Juan Su
Heat stress can cause systemic physiological and biochemical alterations in living organisms. In reproductive systems, heat stress induces germ cell loss and poor quality semen. However, until now, little has been known about such a complex regulation process, particularly in the perspective of metabolism. In this study, serum, hypothalamus, and epididymis samples derived from male SD (Sprague–Dawley) rats being exposed to high environmental temperature (40 °C) 2 h per day for 7 consecutive days were analyzed using metabonomics strategies based on GC/TOFMS. Differentially expressed metabolites reveal that the energy metabolism, amino acid neurotransmitters, and monoamine neurotransmitters pathways are associated with heat stress, in accordance with changes of the three upstream neuroendocrine system pathways in the SNS (sympathetic adrenergic system), hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA), and hypothalamic pituitary testis axis (HPT) axis. Many of these metabolites, especially in the epididymis, were found to be up-regulated, presumably due to a self-preserving action to resist the environmental hot irritation to maintain normal functioning of the male reproductive system.