Impact of quercetin supplementation on testicular functions in summer heat-stressed rabbits

Z. Naseer, E. Ahmad, M. Aksoy, E.T. Epikmen


The current study was designed to determine the effects of dietary quercetin on epididymal sperm and testicular changes in male rabbits during summer heat stress (HS). Twelve adult male New Zealand white rabbits were submitted to summer heat conditions (temperature-humidity index 29.9±1.2). One group was fed a basal ration (BR; n = 6), whereas the other group was fed the same basal diet supplemented with quercetin (30 mg/kg d; Que-BR; n = 6) for 60 d, and both groups were sacrificed at the end of the experiment. Epididymis and testicles isolation was done for sperm, histopathology and apoptosis assessments. The results showed that quercetin improved epididymis weight, but did not affect other testicular dimensions except testicular length. A significant improvement was observed in epididymal sperm motility, concentration, kinematic parameters, viability, mitochondrial potential and acrosome integrity in Que-BR compared to the BR group. Lowered serum malondialdehyde level was observed in quercetin supplemented rabbits. Moreover, the quercetin supplementation maintained the interstitial stroma, seminiferous tubules architecture, germinal and Sertoli cells under HS, decreasing the apoptotic germ cell rate in seminiferous tubules. In conclusion, HS condition affects the sperm and testes configurations in rabbits and dietary quercetin minimises oxidative stress, which in turn protects the testes and sperm against HS induced damage.


quercetin; heat stress; testes; sperm; apoptosis; rabbit

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