There is good evidence for impairment of spermatogenesis and reductions in sperm counts and testosterone levels in chronic alcoholics. The mechanisms for these effects have not yet been studied in detail. The consequences of chronic alcohol consumption on the structure and/or metabolism of testis cell macromolecules require to be intensively investigated. The present work reports the effects of chronic alcoholism on contents of free amino acids, levels of cytochrome P450 3A2 (CYP3A2) mRNA expression and DNA fragmentation, as well as on contents of different cholesterol fractions and protein thiol groups in rat testes. Wistar albino male rats were divided into two groups: I - control (intact animals), II - chronic alcoholism (15% ethanol self-administration during 150 days). Following 150 days of alcohol consumption, testicular free amino acid content was found to be significantly changed as compared with control. The most profound changes were registered for contents of lysine (-53%) and methionine (+133%). The intensity of DNA fragmentation in alcohol-treated rat testes was considerably increased, on the contrary CYP3A2 mRNA expression in testis cells was inhibited, testicular contents of total and etherified cholesterol increased by 25% and 45% respectively, and protein SH-groups decreased by 13%. Multidirectional changes of the activities of testicular dehydrogenases were detected. We thus obtained complex assessment of chronic alcoholism effects in male gonads, affecting especially amino acid, protein, ATP and NADPH metabolism. Our results demonstrated profound changes in testes on the level of proteome and genome. We suggest that the revealed metabolic disorders can have negative implication on cellular regulation of spermatogenesis under long-term ethanol exposure.
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