Ultrastructural findings in murine seminiferous tubules as a consequence of subchronic vanadium pentoxide inhalation.
ABSTRACT Vanadium (V) is a transition metal emitted to the atmosphere during the combustion of fossil fuels. Its current status as an atmospheric pollutant increases the need for information about the effects that this element might have on the reproductive health of exposed populations. The present study investigated changes in testicular ultrastructure following inhalation exposure of male mice to V (as vanadium pentoxide). Tissue V level was constant during the 12-week time period. We observed necrosis of spermatogonium, spermatocytes and Sertoli cells, as well as pseudo-nuclear inclusion and disruption of cellular junctions. Our findings stressed the importance of the hemato-testicular barrier in supporting the function of Sertoli cells and suggest as a possible target of V, tight junction proteins. Further analysis is needed in order to identify the role that reactive oxidative species (ROS) might have on these cellular junctions, and if a specific protein is the target of its toxic effects. The relevance of this report concerns the impact that metal air pollution could have on male fertility in dense cities with vehicular traffic problems.