• 4-nitrophenol;
  • quercetin;
  • germ cell;
  • apoptosis;
  • oxidative damage


The beneficial effects of quercetin on reproductive damage elicited by 4-nitrophenol (PNP) were studied in adult male mice. A six-week treatment of weekly intraperitoneal injections of PNP (50 mg/kg) resulted in severe damage to the seminiferous tubules, a remarkable increase in both hydroxyl radical and malondiadehyde production, and notably decreased glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase activities. Moreover, PNP treatment induced germ cell apoptosis, inhibited Bcl-xl expression, and then activated Bax expression and the caspase-3 enzyme. Exposure to PNP also increased XBP-1 and HO-1 mRNAs levels. However, simultaneous supplementation with quercetin (75 mg/kg) attenuated the toxicity induced by PNP through renewal of the antioxidant enzyme's status, alleviating apoptosis by regulating the expressions of Bax and Bcl-xl, XBP-1 and HO-1mRNAs, and the regulation of caspase-3 activity. Taken together, these findings indicated that the antioxidant quercetin displays a potential preventive effect on PNP-induced oxidative damage in mouse testes and may represent an efficient supplement to attenuate reproductive toxicity from environmental toxicants in order to ensure reproductive health and sperm production. Anat Rec, 296:1650–1657, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.