Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Cell and Molecular Biology
Jaylon A. Vaughn - Tuskegee University
Co-Author(s): Dr. Chasity Bradford, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL; Dr. Soweto Thomas, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL; Terrance Platt, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL; Christelle Omeler, Oakwood University, Huntsville, AL; Nakiah Gipson, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL
Hypertension is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease in the United States, and it is extremely prevalent in the Black Belt Regions of the United States. Hypertension promotes severe end organ damage, and African Americans are more susceptible to end organ damage. Hypertension affects testicular morphology and sperm quality, and diet can prevent the increase in blood pressure. SOD (superoxide dismutase) 2 is an antioxidant found in the intercellular matrix of the mitochondria that protects against oxidative stress. In order to get a clearer understanding of the efficacy of pumpkin-based dietary intervention on oxidative stress during a hypertensive state, the antioxidant expression in the testes was examined. Pumpkin is known to have antioxidant properties to help decrease reactive oxygen species. Yet there is no evidence about the impact of pumpkin-based diets on testicular antioxidant protein expression. We hypothesized that pumpkin seed and pumpkin flesh would increase testicular SOD2 expression. Animals were 14 weeks old and fed a diet of either pumpkin seed, pumpkin flesh, or a pumpkin seed and flesh blend for 8 weeks or treated with captopril in the drinking water. Testes were weighed and homogenized. A protein assay was performed prior to western blot analysis. SOD2 expression was assessed and Glyceraldehyde 3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (GAPDH) expression was used as a loading control. Statistical significance was analyzed by ANOVA. There was an observable decrease in testicular SOD2 production in SHR control vs WKY control. There was an increase in SOD2 in WKY fed a pumpkin seed and pumpkin flesh diet, yet there was only an increase in the SHR treated with pumpkin flesh. There is also an observable change when pumpkin flesh and seed diets were blended. There was a decrease in mean arterial blood pressure in SHR fed pumpkin flesh and seed, and this impacts testicular antioxidant enzyme expression. A dietary intervention with pumpkin seed and flesh increase testicular SOD2 expression in a normal testicular environment. Further studies are needed in order to understand the correlation between hypertension, diet, and testicular structure and function.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Tuskegee College of Agriculture, Environment, and Nutritional Science
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Chasity Bradford, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: In this project, I assisted with the care, euthanasia of the animals, organ collection. On my own, I performed tissue homogenization, protein assays, and western blotting.