Altered Testicular Macrophage Polarization Is Associated With Reproductive Dysfunction In Hypertensive Mice Conference Paper uri icon


  • Elevated circulating proinflammatory (M1) and decreased anti-inflammatory (M2) macrophages contribute to hypertension (HTN) and end-organ damage. HTN is associated with reproductive dysfunction in men. However, the impact of HTN on testicular macrophages and inflammation is unknown. We hypothesized that HTN increases M1 and decreases M2 testicular macrophages, which is associated with inflammation and reproductive dysfunction. Male mice were made hypertensive by either providing L-arginine methyl ester hydrochloride (L-NAME) (0.5 mg/mL) in the drinking water for 3 weeks [L-NAME-induced HTN (LHTN)] or L-NAME water for 2 weeks, followed by a 2-week washout period and a subsequent 3-week 4% high salt diet [salt-sensitive hypertension (SSHTN)]. Control (C) mice received tap water and normal diet. Flow cytometry analysis revealed a significant increase in both M1 (C: 15%1, LHTN: 22%2; p<0.05) and M2 (C: 10%1, LHTN: 21%2; p<0.05) macrophages in testes from LHTN mice. Similarly, testes from SSHTN mice had a significant increase in M1 (C: 17%1, SSHTN: 28%2; p<0.05) but had a significant decrease in M2 (C: 14%1, SSHTN: 7%1; p<0.05) macrophages. Testes from both hypertension models had a significant increase in gene expression of the proinflammatory cytokines TNFa, IFNg, IL-1b, IL-6, and IL-17. Sperm concentration (C: 8.50.7, LHTN: 6.50.2, SSHTN: 4.70.5; both p<0.05) and the percentage of sperm mitochondrial activity (C: 88%3, LHTN: 715, SSHTN: 64%3; both p<0.05) were decreased significantly in both hypertension groups. Hypertensive mice presented a significantly increased percentage of sperm with abnormal morphology (C: 5%1, LHTN: 8%1, SSHTN: 13%2; both p<0.05) and damaged acrosome (C: 1.4%0.2, LHTN: 2.8%0.2, SSHTN: 4%0.5; both p<0.05). There was a significant decrease in gene expression of the hormone receptors AR, ERa, and LHR, and the steroidogenic enzymes StAR, 3bHSD, 17bHSD, and CYP17a1 in the testes of LHTN and SSHTN mice. These data demonstrate that HTN alters testicular macrophage polarization which is associated with inflammation and impaired reproductive health. Therapeutic strategies may be developed to improve reproductive health in male hypertensive patients by targeting testicular macrophage imbalance.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Navaneethabalakrishnan, S., Wilcox, B. K., Goodlett, B. L., & Mitchell, B. M.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Navaneethabalakrishnan, Shobana||Wilcox, Brooke K||Goodlett, Bethany L||Mitchell, Brett M

publication date

  • January 2021