Pseudoephedrine induces sperm abnormalities, lower sperm counts and increased apoptosis in rat testis

Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medical Science, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand.
Cell and Tissue Research (Impact Factor: 3.57). 05/2012; 349(2):625-30. DOI: 10.1007/s00441-012-1408-6
Source: PubMed


Pseudoephedrine, an over-the-counter drug, is commonly used for the treatments of asthma, nasal congestion, and obesity. Furthermore, it can be used as a psychostimulant drug if taken in large doses; however, there have been no reports on its effects on reproduction. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the effects of pseudoephedrine administration on sperm morphology, sperm concentration and apoptotic activity in the rat testis. Rats were administered intraperitoneally (IP) with pseudoephedrine at 120 mg/kg for the acute group and 80 mg/kg, IP, once daily for 15 days for the chronic group, while a control group was treated with vehicle. The percentages of normal sperm morphology were significantly decreased in both acute and chronic groups when compared with controls while the total sperm count was significantly decreased in the acute group. Apoptotic activities were increased significantly in both pseudoephedrine-treated groups. The results indicate that pseudoephedrine can induce sperm abnormalities, decrease sperm numbers and increase apoptotic activity in the testis of rats if taken at high doses. The results of this study suggest that the users of pseudoephedrine in medical treatments need to be aware of its potential toxicity involving spermatogenesis.

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