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*Dr. Mohammed A. Taher and Dr. Zainab N. H. Anber


Steroid biosynthesis is initiated with transportation of cholesterol along the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) into the mitochondria. It has been reported that Ca2+ channel blockers suppress the biosynthesis of androgens. Diazepam is one of the most common benzodiazepines used for anxiety. Recent studies found that diazepam acts as Ca channels antagonist as it can produce a complete inhibition of voltage-dependent Ca uptake. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether treatment of male rats with diazepam interferes with steroidogenesis. Fifty male rats were allocated into five groups. Control (D.W.) (n=10) and test groups that received (2, 5 and 10 mg/kg/day) of diazepam by oral gavage, each group (n=10) and sulfasalazine (500mg/kg) for 8 weeks. Animals were kept in standard conditions. At the end of the treatment; animals were sacrificed and the epididymis was removed. Sperms were collected and the sperm count, motility, viability and morphology were determined. The testis were also removed and the effect of diazepam on the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) mRNA expression was assessed by using reverse transcription (Reversetranscriprase polymerase chain reaction) analysis. Testicular histological analysis was also achieved. The results of the present study showed a significant decrease in sperm count, motility and viability with an increase in sperms abnormalities. Also showed that diazepam significantly inhibits the (StAR) mRNA expression. Histological analyses showed dose dependent anomalies of the testis. From the data; it can be concluded that diazepam, in a dose dependent pattern, was effective in attenuating steroidogenesis production through an inhibitory effects on StAR protein gene expression in rats.

Keywords: steroidogenic, Ca channels antagonist, Ca uptake and StAR.

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