Reproductive performance of many avian species, including Japanese quail, is reported to be modulated by specific temporal phase relation of serotonergic and dopaminergic oscillations. Accordingly, it has been shown that the serotonin precursor 5-HTP and the dopamine precursor L-DOPA given 8 h apart induce gonadal suppression and given 12 h apart lead to gonadal stimulation, while other temporal relationships were found to be ineffective. In the present study, we investigated the effects of 8- and 12-h phase relation of neural oscillations on testicular responses including expression of GnRH-I, GnIH, pro-apoptotic proteins (p53 and Bax), inactive and active executioner caspase-3, and the uncleaved DNA repair enzyme PARP-1. Testicular volume and mass decreased significantly in 8-h quail and increased in 12-h quail compared with controls. Expression of ir-GnIH, p53, Bax and active-caspase-3 increased and that of GnRH-I, pro-caspase-3 and uncleaved PARP-1 decreased in 8-h quail compared with controls. A TUNEL assay also confirmed testicular regression in these quail. Testes of 12-h quail exhibited significantly increased expression of GnRH-I, pro-caspase- 3 and uncleaved PARP-1 compared with the control group. Our findings suggest that differential response of avian testes to 8- and 12-h phase relation of serotonergic and dopaminergic neural oscillations may be attributed to autocrine/paracrine action of GnIH expression, which is upregulated in regressed testes, leading to apoptotic changes, and downregulated in developed testes, causing apoptotic inhibition. It is concluded that specific phase relation of neural oscillations may modulate the local testicular GnRH-GnIH system and alter the apoptotic mechanism in quail testes. Moreover, these findings highlight the physiological effects of time-dependent drug delivery, including the specific time intervals between two drugs.
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