Article Title

The traditional Chinese medicine, Monascus-fermented rice, prevents Zn deficiency-induced testis and sperms injury


Monascus purpureus is a fungus used in rice fermentation. Monascus-fermented rice is called red-mold rice (RMR) in Taiwan since the fermentation products contain a considerable amount of red pigments. The protective effects of RMR on oxidative stress in the testis and sperm were evaluated in this study. Zn deficiency was induced in rats by feeding them with a Zn-deficient diet for 12 weeks while the control rats were fed with a normal diet. The Zn-deficient rats were then divided into 6 groups, designated as Zn-deficient (ZD), Zn-compensated (ZC), 1R (151 mg RMR/kg), 5R (755 mg RMR/kg), 1R + ZC (1RZ), and 5R + ZC (5RZ). The animals were administered with the mentioned diet (RMR/Zn) for 8 weeks. In the ZD rats, no spermatid cell formation was observed in the seminiferous tubular epithelia, and testis necrosis/atrophy was apparent. However, 5R and 5RZ administration improved testicular antioxidant enzyme activity, elevated serum testosterone levels, and increased sperm number in ZD rats; this treatment also exhibited inhibitory effects on caspase activities and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in the ZD rats, suggesting that RMR attenuated ZD-induced oxidative stress and testis apoptosis. The preventive activity against ZD-induced reproductive damage was more apparent in the 1RZ and 5RZ groups than in the ZC group, suggesting that RMR can serve as a supplement in adjuvant therapy for diseases associated with Zn deficiency.

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