Damage to the Testicular Structure of Rats by Acute Oral Exposure of Cadmium


Cadmium (Cd) is one of the most important heavy metal toxicants, used throughout the world at the industrial level. It affects humans through environmental and occupational exposure and animals through the environment. The most severe effects of oral exposure to Cd on the male reproductive system, particularly spermatogenesis, have not been discussed. In this study, we observed the damage to the testes and heritable DNA caused by oral exposure to Cd. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups: a control group and three groups treated with 5, 10, and 15 mg Cd/kg/day for 17 days by oral gavage. Our results revealed that Cd significantly decreases weight gain in 10 and 15 mg/kg groups, whereas the 5 mg/kg groups showed no difference in weight gain. The histopathology showed adverse structural effects on the rat testis by significantly reducing the thickness of the tunica albuginea, the diameter of the tubular lumen, and the interstitial space among seminiferous tubules and increasing the height of the epithelium and the diameter of the seminiferous tubules in Cd treated groups. Comet assay in epididymal sperms demonstrated a significant difference in the lengths of the head and comet in all the 3 Cd treated groups, indicating damage in heritable DNA, although variations in daily sperm production were not significant. Only a slight decrease in sperm count was reported in Cd-treated groups as compared to the control group, whereas the tail length, percentage of DNA in head, and tail showed no significant difference in control and all the experimental groups. Overall, our findings indicate that Cd toxicity must be controlled using natural sources, such as herbal medicine or bioremediation, with non-edible plants, because it could considerably affect heritable DNA and induce damage to the reproductive system.

Authors: Tariq Iqbal, Maosheng Cao, Zijiao Zhao, Yun Zhao, Lu Chen, Tong Chen, Chunjin Li, Xu Zhou
; Full Source: International journal of environmental research and public health 2021 Jun 4;18(11):6038. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18116038,