Fermented Maillard reaction products attenuate stress-induced testicular dysfunction in mice

Jae Yeon Joung, Ji Sun Lee, Nam Su Oh, Sae Hun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic stress can cause psychological diseases and affect male fertility and the reproductive system. Maillard reaction of milk proteins improves their functional and nutritional properties through modification of proteins. Previously, we determined that Maillard reaction product (MRP) from milk casein and MRP fermented (FMRP) with Lactobacillus rhamnosus 4B15 (4B15) had anti-anxiolytic effects in mice under chronic stress. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the effects of MRP and FMRP on chronic stress-induced testicular dysfunction in mice through quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and in situ hybridization analysis. Mice were pretreated with MRP and FMRP for 10 wk; simultaneously, from the third week of the experimental period, they were exposed to unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS) for 7 wk. The expression levels of the luteinizing hormone subunit β (Lhb) and follicle-stimulating hormone subunit β (Fshb) were remarkably reduced after exposure to UCMS. However, treatment with MRP and FMRP inhibited the UCMS-induced reduction, with FMRP showing especially significant inhibition. Moreover, the expression of steroidogenesis-related genes [luteinizing hormone receptor (Lhr), follicle-stimulating hormone (Fshr), 3-β hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 (Hsd3b2), and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR)] were significantly reduced in response to UCMS. In contrast, the transcript levels of these genes were highest in the MRP-treated mice. Mice pretreated with FMRP also exhibited higher levels of gene expression compared with the nonstressed mice. Moreover, UCMS significantly downregulated the expression of genes associated with testicular function [i.e., a disintegrin and metallopeptidase domain 5 (Adam5), Adam29, bone morphogenetic protein 2 (Bmp2), tektin 3 (Tekt3), and sperm adhesion molecule 1 (Spam1)]. However, the administration of MRP and FMRP prevented the UCMS-induced reduction in the expressions of above genes. The localization of Lhr, Srd5a2, Adam29, and Spam1 was confirmed by in situ hybridization analysis and the results were consistent with those of qRT-PCR. Consequently, these results indicated that MRP and FMRP, manufactured by the heat treatment of milk casein and fermentation with probiotic 4B15, have the potential to prevent chronic stress-induced testicular dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1384-1393
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea(NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF- 2020R1F1A1055542). The authors have not stated any conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Dairy Science Association


  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus 4B15
  • Maillard reaction product
  • chronic stress
  • spermatogenesis
  • testicular dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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