Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.534, 957-965, 2021
Photoperiod dependent expression of estrogen receptor alpha in testes of Japanese quail: Involvement of Withania somnifera in apoptosis amelioration
Light plays important function in the regulation of reproduction in vertebrates including birds. The prolonged long day length exposure causes reproductively inactive state or photorefractoriness in many avian species including Japanese quail. Withania somnifera (WS) is a medicinal plant known to have beneficial effects on stress and infertility. The study investigates the physiological effect of WS on the light-induced stress in quail mediated by estrogen receptor alpha. Quails were exposed to long day length for three months and then transferred into intermediate day length to make them photorefractory (PR) while controls under natural day length. Administration of Withania somnifera root extract (WSRE) in PR quail induces estrogen and decreases corticosterone in male Japanese quail. Immunoreactivity of ER alpha decreased in testis of PR quail and increased after oral administration of WSRE compared to control. Expression of ir-Caspase-3 and ir-p53 in the testis increased in PR while decreased in PR + WS. Histologically, seminiferous tubules size decreased in PR whereas increased in PR + WS quails. Scanning electron microscopic study reveals sperms in clusters with proper head and tail in control. In PR quails sperms were few and distorted while WSRE improved the sperm morphology. From the study, it is concluded that during photorefractoriness gonadal regression occurs due to testicular apoptosis which causes stress. WSRE helps to overcome stress and improve reproductive performance via increase in expression of ir-ER alpha during PR condition. Further, the stress ameliorating effect of WSRE in reducing apoptosis mediated by ir-Caspase-3 and ir-p53 in the testes is clearly evident in Japanese quail. (c) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.