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Biological Network Model of Effect of Chronic Intermittent Hypoxia on Spermatogenesis in Rats

Jisheng Wang, Xuefeng Gong, Fanchao Meng, Sheng Deng, Hengheng Dai, Binghao Bao, Junlong Feng, Haisong Li, Bin Wang

First Clinical Medical College, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e925579

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.925579

Available online: 2020-08-07

Published: 2020-09-06

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to explore the effect of obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS) on spermatogenesis and the effects of the expression of related proteins.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Rats in Group A were normoxic (exposed to a normal level of oxygen). Rats in Group B were exposed to intermittent hypoxia. After 6 weeks, the rats were killed and their epididymides were removed. The epididymis of one testis was used to test indices of semen quality. The epididymis of the other testis was stained with hematoxylin & eosin to observe pathologic changes in the testis. We used real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and Western blotting to measure expression of the protein and mRNA of leptin, Janus kinase (JAK), and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) in rat testicular cells. Cytoscape v3.7.1 was employed to construct the OSAHS-male infertility network and protein-protein interactions network. Information on common targets of OSAHS and male infertility was imported into the Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery (DAVID). Then, analyses of pathway enrichment were undertaken using the Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes databases.
RESULTS: Data were obtained 6 weeks after completion of OSAHS modeling. Compared with Group A, the total sperm count and sperm motility in Group B showed a downward trend (P<0.05). Staining showed no obvious abnormality in Group A. However, numerous structurally abnormal spermatogenic tubules were observed in Group B samples, and the lumen was atrophied and thinned, arranged unevenly, and the gap between the tubules was markedly increased. Western blotting and RT-qPCR showed that, compared with Group A, expression of the protein and mRNA of leptin, JAK, and STAT in the testes of rats in Group B was significantly increased (P<0.05 for all).
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that: (1) Chronic intermittent hypoxia can cause pathologic damage to rat testes; (2) Oligozoospermia was highly correlated and regulated by the JAK2/STAT6 signaling pathway; and (3) Chronic intermittent hypoxia can lead to decreased spermatogenesis in rats.

Keywords: Infertility, Male, Sleep apnea, obstructive