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On-line Access: 2023-08-11

Received: 2023-02-28

Revision Accepted: 2023-07-29

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Citations:  Bibtex RefMan EndNote GB/T7714

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Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B

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Nrf2-mediated ferroptosis of spermatogenic cells involved in male reproductive toxicity induced by polystyrene nanoplastics in mice


Author(s):  Xufeng FU, Hang HAN, Hong YANG, Bo XU, Wenjie DAI, Ling LIU, Tiantian HE, Xing DU, Xiuying PEI

Affiliation(s):  Key Laboratory of Fertility Preservation and Maintenance of Ministry of Education, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Ningxia Medical University, Yinchuan 750004, China; more

Corresponding email(s):  fuxufeng100@163.com, peixiuying@163.com

Key Words:  Polystyrene nano plastics (PS-NPs); Reproductive toxicity; Ferroptosis; Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)


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Xufeng FU, Hang HAN, Hong YANG, Bo XU, Wenjie DAI, Ling LIU, Tiantian HE, Xing DU, Xiuying PEI. Nrf2-mediated ferroptosis of spermatogenic cells involved in male reproductive toxicity induced by polystyrene nanoplastics in mice[J]. Journal of Zhejiang University Science B,in press.Frontiers of Information Technology & Electronic Engineering,in press.https://doi.org/10.1631/jzus.B2300138

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author="Xufeng FU, Hang HAN, Hong YANG, Bo XU, Wenjie DAI, Ling LIU, Tiantian HE, Xing DU, Xiuying PEI",
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A1 - Wenjie DAI
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Abstract: 
Microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) have become hazardous materials due to the massive amount of plastic waste and disposable masks, but their specific health effects remain uncertain. In this study, fluorescence-labeled polystyrene NPs (PS-NPs) were injected into the circulatory systems of mice to determine the distribution and potential toxic effects of NPs in vivo. Interestingly, whole-body imaging found PS-NPs accumulated in the testes of mice. Therefore, the toxic effects of PS-NPs on the reproduction systems and the spermatocytes cell line of male mice, and their mechanisms, were investigated. After oral exposure to PS-NPs, their spermatogenesis was affected and the spermatogenic cells were damaged. The spermatocyte cell line GC-2 was exposed to PS-NPs and analyzed using RNA-seq to determine the toxic mechanisms; a ferroptosis pathway was found after PS-NPs exposure. The phenomena and indicators of ferroptosis were then determined and verified by ferroptosis inhibitor Fer-1, and it was also found that Nrf2 played an important role in spermatogenic cell ferroptosis induced by PS-NPs. Finally, it was confirmed in vivo that this mechanism of Nrf2 played a protective role in PS-NPs-induced male reproductive toxicity. This study demonstrated that PS-NPs induce male reproductive dysfunction in mice by causing spermatogenic cell ferroptosis dependent on Nrf2.

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