Knockout of insulin-degrading enzyme leads to mice testicular morphological changes and impaired sperm quality

Maria João Meneses, Diego O. Borges, Tânia R. Dias, Fátima O. Martins, Pedro F. Oliveira, M. Paula Macedo, Marco G. Alves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) is a zinc metalloprotease responsible for degrading and inactivating several bioactive peptides, including insulin. Individuals without this enzyme or with a loss-of-function mutation in the gene that codifies it, present hyperinsulinemia. In addition, impairment of IDE-mediated insulin clearance is associated with the development of metabolic diseases, namely prediabetes. Although insulin regulates male fertility, the role of IDE on male reproductive function remains unknown. We proposed to study the influence of IDE in the reproductive potential of males. As insulin mediates key events for the normal occurrence of spermatogenesis, we hypothesized that IDE functioning might be linked with sperm quality. We used C57BL/6N mice that were divided in three groups according to its genotype: wild type (WT), heterozygous and knockout (KO) male mice for Ide. Spermatozoa were collected from the cauda of epididymis and sperm parameters were evaluated. Testicular tissue morphology was assessed through hematoxylin and eosin stain. Mitochondrial complex protein levels and lipid peroxidation were also evaluated in the testicular tissue. Our results show that KO mice present a 50% decrease in testes weight compared to WT mice as well as a decrease in seminiferous tubules diameter. Moreover, KO mice present impaired sperm quality, namely a decrease in both sperm viability and morphology. These results provide evidence that IDE plays an important role in determining the reproductive potential of males.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-17
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Insulin-degrading enzyme
  • Male fertility
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Spermatozoa
  • Testes

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