European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 19 - Number 1
Eur J Anat, 19 (1): 65-72 (2015)

Testicular histomorphometry and semen quality of adult Wistar rats following juvenile oral lead intoxication

Oluwole B. Akinola1, Adeoye O. Oyewopo1, Sikiru A. Biliaminu2, Shakira A. Aremu1, Samuel T. Afolayan1 and Ganiyat O. Sanni1

1Department of Anatomy and 2Chemical Pathology and Immunology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria

ABSTRACT Empirical evidence has shown that childhood lead (Pb) intoxication impairs cognitive function and heightens the risk of dementia in young adult humans. However, the effects of juvenile Pb toxicity on testicular morphometry and semen quality in young adulthood require further studies. Using a rodent model, juvenile (4 weeks old) Wistar rats were randomized to receive either normal saline or lead acetate in their drinking water at 0.5% (5000 ppm), 1.5% (15000 ppm) and 2.5% (25000 ppm) for 7 weeks. At 11 weeks postnatal, young adult rats were anaesthetized and their cauda epididymides excised for sperm analysis. The left testicles were homogenized in phosphate buffer and the supernatants assayed for testosterone by the enzyme immunoassay technique. The right testicles were processed for photomicroscopy by the haematoxylin and eosin technique. Using ImageJ software, testicular sections were subjected to morphometric analysis. Our findings showed that juvenile Pb intoxication alters testicular histomorphometry in young adulthood as indicated by significant (P<0.05) reductions in seminiferous tubule diameters and lumen, and marked attenuation of the germinal epithelium in the Pb-exposed rats compared with the non-exposed age-matched controls. Furthermore, findings from sperm analysis showed significantly low sperm density and motility following oral Pb exposure, while the percentage of deformed and dead sperm cells had increased significantly (P<0.05). Meanwhile, testicular interstitial compartment and the associated Leydig cells were unperturbed, and testicular testosterone levels were not significantly different between the control and Pb-treated groups (P>0.05). These findings show that Pb intoxication initiated prior to pubescence alters testicular histomorphometry and lowers semen quality in young adult Wistar rats, and these changes were unconnected with testicular testosterone levels.

Keywords: Lead, Testis, Morphometry, Seminiferous tubule, Testosterone, Juvenile

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)