L-Carnitine reduces the negative effects of formalin on sperm parameters, chromatin condensation and apoptosis in mice: An experimental study


Background: Formalin is commonly applied as an antiseptic and tissue fixative. It has reactive molecules that lead to its cytotoxic effects. According to recent studies, formalin causes a change in the testicular and sperm structure and L-carnitine (LC) acts as an antioxidant to counteract its effects.

Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the protective effects of LC on the parameters, chromatin condensation and apoptosis of mice sperm exposed to formalin.

Materials and Methods: In this experimental study, 24 balb/c mice (25-40 gr ,10-12 wk) were divided into three groups (n = 8/each): group I without any injections or gavage; group II, received 10 mg/ kg formalin intraperitoneally (I.P); and group III was exposed to formalin and LC, where a dose of 10 mg/kg formalin was injected I.P daily and LC the dose of 100 mg/kg was kept in a solvent solution. After 31 days, the sperm examination was performed as follows: to evaluate chromatin and DNA quality of the sperm, we applied aniline blue (AB), toluidine blue (TB), chromomycin A3 (CMA3), and terminal transferase-mediated deoxy uridine triphosphate biotin end labeling (TUNEL) tests.

Results: Sperm parameters such as count, motility, morphology, and viability displayed a significant decrease in the formalin group. While the data exhibited a considerable augment in sperm parameters in the formalin + LC than the formalin and control groups (p < 0.001), significant differences were detected between groups with respect to TB staining, TUNEL test, CMA3 test and AB staining in the formalin and formalin + LC groups.

Conclusion: LC can reduce the negative effects of formalin on sperm parameters, chromatin stability, and percentage of apoptosis in an animal model.

Key words: Formalin, L-carnitine, Mice, Sperm chromatin, Apoptosis.

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