Vitamin E (VE) plays numerous important roles in mammals because of its antioxidant activity. As a result, VE deficiency (VED) leads to the dysfunction of central nervous, reproductive, and immune systems. However, few studies have reported the effects of VED on the male reproductive system. In this study, we investigated the effects of VED on male reproductive function and examined its relationship to involution in the male reproductive system with aging. We fed a VED or control diet to 4-week-old mice for 12 or 24 weeks. Following the histopathological analysis of reproductive organs, we found seminiferous tubules with exfoliation in the VED groups, and its frequency was significantly increased compared with the controls. Additionally, in the epididymis, a decrease in spermatozoa and an increase in apoptotic germ cells were observed in the VED groups compared with the controls. By Papanicolaou staining, we also found an increase in the proportion of sperm with abnormal morphology in the VED groups compared with the controls. These reproductive effects induced by VED were highly similar to one aspect of those observed in aged mice. Our findings demonstrate that the aging of the male reproductive system may be accelerated because of the impaired in vivo antioxidant capacity induced by VED.
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