Chronic chromium exposure-induced changes in testicular histoarchitecture are associated with oxidative stress: Study in a non-human primate (Macaca radiata Geoffroy)

Department of Endocrinology, Dr. ALM Post Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras, Taramani Campus, Chennai, India.
Human Reproduction (Impact Factor: 4.57). 11/2005; 20(10):2801-13. DOI: 10.1093/humrep/dei148
Source: PubMed


Reproductive toxicity of chromium is in dispute despite positive findings in rodents. Recently we reported epididymal toxicity of hexavalent chromium (CrVI) in bonnet monkeys and in this paper we report its testicular toxicity.
Adult monkeys (Macaca radiata) were given drinking water containing CrVI (100, 200, 400 p.p.m.) for 6 months and testes were removed for ultrastructural and biochemical analyses.
CrVI treatment disrupted spermatogenesis, leading to accumulation of prematurely released spermatocytes, spermatids and uni- and multinucleate giant cells in the lumen of seminiferous tubules. Transmission electron microscopy revealed granulation of chromatin and vacuolation between acrosomal cap and manchette microtubules of elongated spermatids and in the Golgi area of round spermatids. Pachytene spermatocytes had fragmented chromatin and swollen mitochondria with collapsed cristae. Spermatocytes and spermatogonia in the basal compartment were unaffected. Macrophages containing phagocytosed sperm and dense inclusions in Sertoli cells were seen. Specific activities of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and concentrations of the non-enzymatic antioxidants glutathione, vitamins A, C and E decreased, while concentrations of H(2)O(2) and hydroxyl radicals increased in the testis of chromium-treated monkeys. Withdrawal of chromium treatment for 6 months normalized spermatogenesis and the status of pro- and antioxidants in the testis.
CrVI disrupts spermatogenesis by inducing free radical toxicity, and supplementation of antioxidant vitamins may be beneficial to the affected subjects.

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    • "Reproductive toxicity of hexavalent chromium [Cr (VI)] in mammals including human beings has recently been reported. Chromium (VI)-induced testicular as well as ovarian toxicity has been demonstrated in laboratory mammals (Murthy et al., 1996; Elbetieha and Al-Hamood, 1997; Aruldhas et al., 2005; Acharya et al., 2006; Subramanian et al., 2006). A few reports correlated chronic occupational chromium exposures to abnormal semen quality in men (Li et al., 2001; Danadevi et al., 2003; Kumar et al., 2005). "
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