Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology

, Volume 392, Issue 2, pp 147–157 | Cite as

An investigation of the effects of N-acetylcysteine on radiotherapy-induced testicular injury in rats

  • Atilla TopcuEmail author
  • Filiz Mercantepe
  • Sema Rakici
  • Levent Tumkaya
  • Huseyin Avni Uydu
  • Tolga Mercantepe
Original Article


According to data issued by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2012, the estimated number of new cases of all types of cancer worldwide was estimated to exceed 10 million, and 6 million of whom receive radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is the treatment of cancer using ionizing radiation. Our study investigated the effects of x-radiation resulting from radiotherapy (RT) on the testis at the molecular level, and prospectively considered the potential protective characteristics of antioxidants against testicular damage resulting from x-radiation. Forty male Sprague Dawley rats were allocated into five groups, control (group 1), abdominopelvic region 2-Gy-ionizing radiation (group 2), whole-body 6-Gy irradiation (group 3), 2 Gy abdominopelvic region irradiation and 300 mg/kg NAC treatment (group 4), and 6-Gy whole-body irradiation and 300 mg/kg NAC treatment (group 5). Disorganization and vacuolization were observed in the epithelial layer in atrophic seminiferous tubules in the only ionizing radiation (IR) groups. In addition, Johnsen’s score decreased in the only IR groups, while testis tissue malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione (GSH) tissue levels increased. N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) treatment groups Johnsen’s score and tissue GSH levels increased than only IR groups. On the other hand, tissue MDA levels decreased in the NAC treatment groups. The findings showed that ionizing radiation caused apoptosis in germinal epithelial cells led to the oxidative stress-mediated testicular injury. On the other hand, NAC may be useful in the prevention of testicular injury-suppressed ROS production.


N-Acetylcysteine Oxidative stress Radiotherapy Rat Testis 


Author contribution statement

AT conceived and designed research. AT, TM. SR, and LT conducted experiments. AT and HAU contributed new reagents or analytical tools. AT, TM, FM, HAU, SR, and LT analyzed data. TM, FM, SR, and AT wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Animal experiments and procedures were performed in accordance with the national guidelines for the use and care of laboratory animals. The study protocol was approved by the local animal care committee of Recep Tayyip Erdogan University (2018/7-14.02.2018).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Atilla Topcu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Filiz Mercantepe
    • 2
  • Sema Rakici
    • 3
  • Levent Tumkaya
    • 4
  • Huseyin Avni Uydu
    • 5
  • Tolga Mercantepe
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine, Department of PharmacologyRecep Tayyip Erdogan UniversityRizeTurkey
  2. 2.Faculty of Medicine, Department of Internal MedicineRecep Tayyip Erdogan UniversityRizeTurkey
  3. 3.Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiation OncologyRecep Tayyip Erdogan UniversityRizeTurkey
  4. 4.Faculty of Medicine, Department of Histology and EmbryologyRecep Tayyip Erdogan UniversityRizeTurkey
  5. 5.Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical BiochemistryRecep Tayyip Erdogan UniversityRizeTurkey

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