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Journal of Diabetes Research
Volume 2015, Article ID 973142, 13 pages
Research Article

Testicular Metabolic Reprogramming in Neonatal Streptozotocin-Induced Type 2 Diabetic Rats Impairs Glycolytic Flux and Promotes Glycogen Synthesis

1Health Sciences Research Centre (CICS), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Beira Interior (UBI), Covilhã, Portugal
2Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Technology and Center for Neurosciences and Cell Biology (CNC), University of Coimbra, Portugal
3Department of Microscopy, Laboratory of Cell Biology, Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences (ICBAS), University of Porto, Portugal
4Unit for Multidisciplinary Research in Biomedicine (UMIB), Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences (ICBAS), University of Porto (UP), Portugal

Received 26 November 2014; Revised 22 April 2015; Accepted 23 April 2015

Academic Editor: Maria Pia Francescato

Copyright © 2015 L. Rato et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Defects in testicular metabolism are directly implicated with male infertility, but most of the mechanisms associated with type 2 diabetes- (T2DM) induced male infertility remain unknown. We aimed to evaluate the effects of T2DM on testicular glucose metabolism by using a neonatal-streptozotocin- (n-STZ) T2DM animal model. Plasma and testicular hormonal levels were evaluated using specific kits. mRNA and protein expression levels were assessed by real-time PCR and Western Blot, respectively. Testicular metabolic profile was assessed by 1H-NMR spectroscopy. T2DM rats showed increased glycemic levels, impaired glucose tolerance and hyperinsulinemia. Both testicular and serum testosterone levels were decreased, whereas those of 17β-estradiol were not altered. Testicular glycolytic flux was not favored in testicles of T2DM rats, since, despite the increased expression of both glucose transporters 1 and 3 and the enzyme phosphofructokinase 1, lactate dehydrogenase activity was severely decreased contributing to lower testicular lactate content. However, T2DM enhanced testicular glycogen accumulation, by modulating the availability of the precursors for its synthesis. T2DM also affected the reproductive sperm parameters. Taken together these results indicate that T2DM is able to reprogram testicular metabolism by enhancing alternative metabolic pathways, particularly glycogen synthesis, and such alterations are associated with impaired sperm parameters.