Effects of Maternal Lead Acetate Exposure during Lactation on Postnatal Development of Testis in Offspring Wistar Rats

Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Shahid Chamran University of Ahwaz, Ahwaz, Iran

2 Department of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Jondishapour Medical Sciences University of Ahwaz, Ahwaz, Iran


During recent years, there has been an increasing interest in contribution of environmental pollutants as heavy metals to human male infertility. Present study was aimed to investigate the effects of maternal lead acetate exposure during lactation on postnatal development of testis in offspring rats.
Materials and Methods
A total of 60 female rats randomly divided into four equal groups; control and three treatment groups received 20, 100 and 300 mg/kg/day lead acetate via drinking water from day 2 to day 21 of lactation. At 7, 14, 21, 28, 60, 90 and 120 days after birth, the testis weight and volume of offspring were measured and their epididymal semen analyzed. Following tissue processing, 5 μm sections were stained with haematoxylineosin and evaluated with quantitative techniques. Testicular parameters in different groups were compared by one-way ANOVA.
Testis weight and volume of offspring decreased significantly in a dose-related manner in moderate (P< 0.05) and high (P< 0.01) doses groups. Dose-dependent significant reductions were seen in seminiferous tubules diameter and germinal epithelium height during neonatal, prepubertal and postpubertal periods in moderate (P< 0.05) and high (P< 0.01) doses groups until 90 and 120 days after birth, respectively. Significant decreases were observed in mean sperm density of offspring at puberty in moderate and high doses groups until 90 and 120 days after birth, respectively. Testosterone levels decreased significantly in a dose-related manner at puberty in moderate and high doses groups.
Present study showed maternal lead acetate exposure during lactation caused dose-related and long-term alterations of testicular parameters in offspring rats.


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