Date of Award

5-2015

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Christopher Pearl

Second Advisor

Dr. Cindy Linn

Third Advisor

Dr. Pamela Hoppe

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Restricted to Campus until

5-15-2025

Abstract

The incidence of obesity and metabolic syndrome among the human population is increasing, but the effects on male fertility are unresolved. Leptin insensitivity appears to show a consistent relationship between obesity and fertility problems in men. Genetically modified mice lacking the leptin hormone (ob/ob) or leptin receptor (db/db) are reported to be subfertile and/or infertile but there is only minimal information about testicular function (sperm and hormone production) and the progression of infertility. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate testicular function using a leptin-receptor-deficient obese mouse model (the POUND mouse; Charles River). Testicular sperm production is reduced in POUND mice at 16 weeks of age leading to extremely low numbers of sperm in the epididymis. Thus, subfertility/infertility in these animals can be attributed, at least in part, to low sperm counts. However, sperm production is similar between POUND and c57 mice at 8 weeks suggesting that fertility problems in these leptin-receptor-deficient obese mice is the result of a progressive loss of testicular function after initiation of spermatogenesis.

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