Icariin attenuate microcystin-LR-induced gap junction injury in Sertoli cells through suppression of Akt pathways.


School of Medicine and Life Sciences, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, 210023, Jiangsu, China. Electronic address: [Email]


Microcystin-leucine-arginine (MC-LR) can cause male reproductive disorder. However, the underlying mechanism are not yet entirely elucidated. In this study, we aimed to investigated the effects of MC-LR on the integrity of blood-testis barrier (BTB) and the related molecular mechanisms. Both in vivo and in vitro experiments revealed that MC-LR caused disruption of BTB and gap junctions between Sertoli cells respectively, which was paralleled by the alteration of connexin43 (Cx43). Our data demonstrated that MC-LR decreased gap junction intercellular communication (GJIC) and impaired Cx43 expression by activating the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt cascades. In addition, a possible protective effect of Icariin (ICA), a flavonoid isolated from Chinese medicinal herb, against MC-LR toxicity was investigated. The ICA prevented the degradation of GJIC and impairment of Cx43 induced by MC-LR via suppressing the Akt pathway. Together, our results confirmed that the expression of Cx43 induced by MC-LR was regulated in vivo and in vitro, which was involved in the destruction of BTB. Additionally, ICA seems to be able to mitigate the MC-LR toxic effects.


Akt,Connexin43,Gap junctions,Icariin,Microcystin-LR,