Increasing evidence shows that 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin(TCDD) enhances inflammation, and inflammation has a significant negative impact on fertility. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of TCDD on testis inflammation. Pregnant mice and primary Sertoli cells were treated with TCDD, and male offspring and Sertoli cells were treated with lipopolysaccharides(LPS). We then measured testis apoptotic cells, proinflammatory cytokines, and observed the Klotho/PDLIM2/p65 pathway. In vivo results revealed that TCDD further enhanced LPS-increased testis apoptotic cells and concentrations of testicular proinflammatory cytokines (IL1β, IL18, and IL12) (p < 0.05). An in vitro investigation showed the levels of proinflammatory cytokines were increased in TCDD + LPS-treated cells compared with LPS-treated cells (p < 0.05). Compared with the LPS-treated cells, expression of Klotho and PDLIM2 was significantly decreased in TCDD + LPS-treated cells (p < 0.05), while expression of p65 and NLRP3 were significantly increased in the cotreatment cells (p < 0.05). However, the addition of Klotho to the TCDD + LPS-cotreated cells significantly increased PDLIM2 and decreased p65 activation and NLRP3 (p < 0.05). Meanwhile, mRNA levels and the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines were both suppressed by exogenous Klotho (p < 0.05). Administration of Klotho decreased TCDD + LPS-induced cytokines and apoptosis in mice (p < 0.05). Taken together, TCDD may increase testicular inflammation by affecting the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines in Sertoli cells via the Klotho/PDLIM2/p65 pathway, which influences the testicular microenvironment and induces germ cell apoptosis.
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