17α-estradiol does not adversely affect sperm parameters or fertility in male mice: implications for reproduction-longevity trade-offs



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17α-estradiol (17α-E2) is referred to as a nonfeminizing estrogen that was recently found to extend healthspan and lifespan in male, but not female, mice. Despite an abundance of data indicating that 17α-E2 attenuates several hallmarks of aging in male rodents, very little is known with regard to its effects on feminization and fertility. In these studies, we evaluated the effects of 17α-E2 on several markers of male reproductive health in two independent cohorts of mice. In alignment with our previous reports, chronic 17α-E2 treatment prevented gains in body mass, but did not adversely affect testes mass or seminiferous tubule morphology. We subsequently determined that chronic 17α-E2 treatment also did not alter plasma 17β-estradiol or estrone concentrations, while mildly increasing plasma testosterone levels. We also determined that chronic 17α-E2 treatment did not alter plasma follicle-stimulating hormone or luteinizing hormone concentrations, which suggests 17α-E2 treatment does not alter gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuronal function. Sperm quantity, morphology, membrane integrity, and various motility measures were also unaffected by chronic 17α-E2 treatment in our studies. Lastly, two different approaches were used to evaluate male fertility in these studies. We found that chronic 17α-E2 treatment did not diminish the ability of male mice to impregnate female mice, or to generate successfully implanted embryos in the uterus. We conclude that chronic treatment with 17α-E2 at the dose most commonly employed in aging research does not adversely affect reproductive fitness in male mice, which suggests 17α-E2 does not extend lifespan or curtail disease parameters through tradeoff effects with reproduction.




85131767447 (Scopus)