Down regulation of CatSper1 channel in epididymal spermatozoa contributes to the pathogenesis of asthenozoospermia while up regulation of the channel by Sheng Jing San treatment improves…

In rats with cyclophosphamide-induced asthenozoospermia, CatSper1 and sperm motility were significantly reduced, whereas Sheng-Jing-San treatment restored the cyclophosphamide-induced down-regulation of CatSper1 and improved the sperm motility.


Ya-Nan Wang, M.S., Bo Wang, M.S., Min Liang, Ph.D., Cai-Yan Han, M.S., Bin Zhang, B.S., Jie Cai, M.S., Wei Sun, B.S., Guo-Gang Xing, Ph.D.

Volume 99, Issue 2, Pages 579-587, February 2013



To determine the expression of CatSper1 channel in epididymal spermatozoa in a rat model of cyclophosphamide (CP)-induced asthenozoospermia, and further examine effects of soluble granules of Sheng-Jing-San (SJS), a kind of traditional Chinese medicine recipe, on CatSper1 expression and sperm motility in CP-induced asthenozoospermic rats.


Placebo-controlled, randomized trial.


Neuroscience Research Institute, Peking University, China.


Sexually mature male Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 60).


In the CP group, CP at the dose of 35 mg/kg intraperitoneally injected into rats once a day for 7 days; in the normal saline (NS) group, 0.9% saline solution was injected as control.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Sperm motility and count were evaluated by computer-assisted sperm assay (CASA); protein and mRNA expression of CatSper1 channel in epididymal spermatozoa was determined by Western blotting and quantitative real-time RT-PCR, respectively.


The rats were randomly divided into five groups with 12 rats in each group: CP, normal saline (NS), CP + SJS, CP + NS, and treatment naïve. In the CP + SJS group, after the last injection of CP, SJS at a dose of 30 mg/kg was intragastrically administrated to rats once a day for 14 days; in CP + NS group, saline solution instead of SJS was administrated as control. In the treatment naïve group, rats were normally fed for 21 days as controls. We found a statistically significant reduction of the CatSper1 channel, which is associated with an impairment of sperm motility in the epididymal spermatozoa of CP-induced asthenozoospermic rats. Soluble granules of SJS could dramatically restore the CP-induced down-regulation of CatSper1 in epididymal spermatozoa, which greatly improved the sperm motility in the asthenozoospermic rats.


Downregulation of CatSper1 channel in epididymal spermatozoa likely contributes to the pathogenesis of asthenozoospermia, while up-regulation of the channel by SJS improves the sperm motility and therefore can be used as an effective therapeutic strategy for the treatment of male infertility diagnosed with asthenozoospermia.

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