2,5-Hexanedione (HD) induces testicular atrophy and peripheral neuropathy in rats. Since altered lipid metabolism is frequently associated with these disease states, lipid metabolism was investigated in vitro in testes and sciatic nerves of rats fed 1% HD in the drinking water for 6 weeks. Testes from HD-treated rats were 30-60% smaller and weighed threefold less than testes from pair-fed control (PFC) rats. Compared to testes from PFC rats, testes from HD rats exhibited increased incorporation of [14C]acetate into phospholipids (344%), triacylglycerols (281%), and cholesteryl esters + hydrocarbons (246%) but decreased incorporation into free fatty acids (25%) and sterols + diacylglycerols (65%). The increased incorporation of [14C]acetate into phospholipids induced by HD reflected an approximate 300% increase into phosphatidyl choline, lysophosphatidyl choline, phosphatidyl serine + phosphatidyl inositol, and phosphatidyl ethanolamine and a disproportionate 800% increase into sphingomyelin. HD rats exhibited clinical signs of peripheral neuropathy, including everted and flat foot placement and hindlimb weakness; similar changes were not observed in PFC rats. In sciatic nerves, the incorporation of [14C]leucine was decreased into sterols + diacylglycerols (47%), digitoninprecipitable sterols (45%), and cholesteryl esters + hydrocarbons (40%) in HD compared to PFC rats; incorporation of [14C]leucine into free fatty acids, triacylglycerols, and phospholipids was similar in HD and PFC rats. In contrast to the testis and nerve, lipid metabolism in the liver was similar in HD and PFC rats. The concentrations of 2,5-hexanedione and 2,5-dimethylfuran, respectively, were 0.6 ± 0.3 and 6.5 ± 0.9 μg/g wet weight in the testes and 3.1 ± 0.4 and 3.0 ± 0.4 μg/g wet weight in the livers of HD rats. The data indicate that altered metabolism is associated with HD-induced testicular atrophy and distal axonopathy.
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