Fluoride Action Network


It is well known that high fluoride results in low fertility. Epididymis is the important place for spermatozoa maturation, which is essential for successful fertilization. In the previous studies, fluoride was reported to damage the epididymal structure of mouse and rabbit. However, the mechanism underlying sodium fluoride (NaF)-induced epididymal toxicity has not yet been well elucidated. The aim of this study is to explore the global protein alterations in epididymis of mice exposed to NaF using the iTRAQ technique. Results showed that 211 proteins were differentially expressed in both 25 and 100 mg/L NaF groups. Some of them have been proved to be important for reproduction, such as low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 2 (Lrp2), cytochrome c, testis-specific (Cyct), sorbitol dehydrogenase (Sord), glutathione S-transferases (GSTs), acrosin, beta-defensin 126, cysteine-rich secretory protein (Crisp) 1, and Crisp2. Gene ontology (GO) analysis suggested cellular process, organelle and catalytic activity account for high percent and number of differentially expressed proteins. 171 pathways were found after the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis, among which the representative maps, such as ribosome, focal adhesion, and phagosome, were involved. Different functional categories post-translational modification, protein turnover, chaperones; translation, ribosomal structure and biogenesis; cytoskeleton; energy production and conversion are implicated in the Cluster of Orthologous Groups (COG) of proteins analysis. Subsequently, the effect of NaF on the antioxidant activity in epididymis, especially glutathione and glutathione-related enzymes, was evaluated. Results exhibited high fluoride caused low total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC), high methane dicarboxylic aldehyde (MDA), decreased reduced glutathione (GSH), and the glutathione-related enzymes [GSH peroxidase (GPx), GSH reductase (GR), and GSH S-transferase (GST)] changes in activity, protein, and mRNA expressions. In summary, NaF decreased the antioxidant activity of epididymis, especially glutathione and glutathione-related enzymes, as well as iTRAQ results, providing new explanations for the low sperm quality induced by fluoride.