Toxicology letters

4-Nonylphenol induces autophagy and attenuates mTOR-p70S6K/4EBP1 signaling by modulating AMPK activation in Sertoli cells.

PMID 28041982


The estrogenic chemical 4-nonylphenol (NP) is known to impair testicular devolopment and spermatogenesis in rodents. The objective of this study was to explore the effects of NP on autophagy induction and AMPK-mTOR signaling pathway in Sertoli cells (SCs), which are the "nursemaid cells" for meiosis of spermatocytes. In this study we exposed 7-week-old male rats to NP by intra-peritoneal injection at 0, 20, 50 or 100mg/kg body weight/2days for 20 consecutive days. Our results showed that exposure to NP dose-dependently induces the formation of autophagosomes in SCs, increases the expression of Beclin-1, the conversion of LC3-I to LC3-II and the mRNA expression of Atg3, Atg5, Atg7 and Atg12 in testis, and these effects are concomitant with the activation of AMPK, and the suppression of TSC2-mTOR-p70S6K/4EBP1 signaling cascade in testis. Furthermore, 10μM Compound C or AMPKα1 siRNA pre-treatment effectively attenuated autophagy and reversed AMPK-mTOR-p70S6K/4EBP1 signaling in NP-treated SCs. Co-treatment with 1mM AICAR remarkably strengthened NP-induced autophagy and mTOR inhibition in SCs. Together, these data suggest that NP stimulates Sertoli cell autophagy and inhibits mTOR-p70S6K/4EBP1 activity through AMPK activation, which is the potential mechanism responsible for the regulation of testis function and differentiation following NP exposure.

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AICAR, ≥98% (HPLC), powder