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NRF2 Plays a Critical Role in Both Self and EGCG Protection against Diabetic Testicular Damage.


Activation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) has been found to ameliorate diabetic testicular damage (DTD) in rodents. However, it was unclear whether NRF2 is required for these approaches in DTD. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a potent activator of NRF2 and has shown beneficial effects on multiple diabetic complications. However, the effect of EGCG has not been studied in DTD. The present study aims to explore the role of NRF2 in both self and EGCG protection against DTD. Therefore, streptozotocin-induced diabetic C57BL/6 wild type (WT) and Nrf2 knockout (KO) mice were treated in the presence or absence of EGCG, for 24 weeks. The Nrf2 KO mice exhibited more significant diabetes-induced loss in testicular weight and spermatozoa count, and increase in testicular apoptotic cell death, as compared with the WT mice. EGCG activated NRF2 expression and function, preserved testicular weight and spermatozoa count, and attenuated testicular apoptotic cell death, endoplasmic reticulum stress, inflammation, and oxidative damage in the WT diabetic mice, but not the Nrf2 KO diabetic mice. The present study demonstrated for the first time that NRF2 plays a critical role in both self and EGCG protection against DTD.