Effects of Lead Exposure on Sperm Concentrations and Testes Weight in Male Rats: A Meta-regression Analysis

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A (Impact Factor: 2.35). 02/2008; 71(7):454-63. DOI: 10.1080/15287390701839331
Source: PubMed


The correlation between exposure to lead (PB) and sperm concentrations and testes weight are important in risk assessment of metal toxicity to male reproductive functions. The authors carried out two systematic reviews and meta-analyses of rats. In addition, a meta-regression analysis was taken to explore a dose-response relationship between the mean difference of testes weight (MD(testes)) and available confounding factors. Data were obtained from computerized literature searches of several databases from their inception through December 2005. The reference lists of identified articles were examined further for relevant articles. The authors identified 6 and 12 studies, separated into 16 and 28 subgroups, in the two meta-analyses. The authors conducted random- or fixed-effect models toward the effect size. Heterogeneity between study results was explored through chi-square tests and meta-regression. Results showed that a decrease in sperm concentrations was found as low as mean difference of sperm concentrations (MD(sperm)) = 30.9 and 95%CI = (25.43-36.37) in a fixed-effect model or MD(sperm) = 35.47 and 95%CI = (15.27-55.68) in a random-effect model after Pb exposure. Similarly, a significantly lower testes weight was also evident: MD(testes) = 0.033 and 95%CI = (0.021-0.046) in a fixed-effect model or MD(testes) = 0.047 and 95%CI = (0.0044-0.089) in a random-effect model. In the meta-regression analysis, two confounders, age and body weight, explained part of the observed heterogeneity. The body weight after Pb exposure was inversely associated with MD(testes). These findings support the notion that Pb exposure produced decreased sperm concentrations and testes weight in rats.

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    • "In addition, a significant positive correlation was also observed between Pb in seminal plasma and the 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) level (Xu et al., 2003). Pb is a testicular toxicant in experimental animals (Wang et al., 2008). The effects of Pb on spermatogenesis have been demonstrated in rat testes. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lead (Pb) is a testicular toxicant. In the present study, we investigated the effects of maternal Pb exposure during lactation on testicular development and steroidogenesis in male offspring. Maternal mice were exposed to different concentration of lead acetate (200 or 2000 ppm) through drinking water from postnatal day (PND) 0 to PND21. As expected, a high concentration of Pb was measured in the kidneys and liver of pups whose mothers were exposed to Pb during lactation. In addition, maternal Pb exposure during lactation elevated, to a less extent, Pb content in testes of weaning pups. Testis weight in weaning pups was significantly decreased when maternal mice were exposed to Pb during lactation. The level of serum and testicular T was reduced in Pb-exposed pups. The expression of P450scc, P450(17α) and 17β-HSD, key enzymes for T synthesis, was down-regulated in testes of weaning pups whose mothers were exposed to Pb during lactation. Interestingly, the level of serum and testicular T remained decreased in adult offspring whose mothers were exposed to Pb during lactation. Importantly, the number of spermatozoa was significantly reduced in Pb-exposed male offspring. Taken together, these results suggest that Pb could be transported from dams to pups through milk. Maternal Pb exposure during lactation persistently disrupts testicular development and steroidogenesis in male offspring. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Applied Toxicology
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    • "Various studies suggest an interaction of heavy metals with the hypothalamo-hypophysis axis controlling spermatogenesis.[29] Some authors have reported that male rats exposed to lead acetate showed a significant decrease in the weight of the testes[25] and epididymis.[27] This reduction in weight of sex glands was accompanied by an alteration of the normal histological structure and also exhibited disordered arrangement of germ cells, a decrease spermatogenic cell layer in the seminiferous tubules. "
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    ABSTRACT: One of the target organs of heavy metals is testis and many authors proposed that oxidative stress could be responsible to induce their toxicity. An experimental study was conducted to evaluate the molecular mechanisms of lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) toxicity, their toxicodynamic interaction and to evaluate therapeutic potential of N-Acetyl L-cysteine (NAC) against the reproductive toxicity in male Wistar rats. rats were randomly divided into 8 groups comprising of 6 rats in each. Group 1 and 2 were syam and NAC control, Group 3, 4 and 5 were kept as toxic control groups such as lead, cadmium and lead + cadmium respectively, where as Group 6, 7 and 8 were therapeutic groups with NAC. The experiment scheduled for 3 months. Body weights, anti-oxidant profile (GSH, GST, TBARS and protein carbonyls) in testis, testis weight, testicular LDH, sperm count and histopathology were conducted. And also, interaction of Pb and Cd with zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) in testis was assessed. The present study revealed significant alterations in body weights, anti-oxidant profile, weights of testes, testicular LDH, sperm count, and concentration of Zn and Cu in toxic control groups 3, 4 and 5 as compared to control and NAC-treated groups. The toxic combination (Pb+Cd) group 5 showed significant alterations in protein carbonyls, GST levels and testicular LDH as compared to Pb and Cd alone administered groups and these results are substantiated with marked changes in the histopathology. All the NAC-treated groups revealed significant improvement in all the parameters. The results of the investigation revealed that Pb, Cd and their combination induces toxicity to the biological system due to the excess generation of free radicals and impairment of anti-oxidant defenses. Toxic effects were more pronounced in the group that received a combination of Pb and Cd, suggesting positive toxicodynamic interaction. Use of NAC countered the adverse effects of Pb and Cd induced toxicity to a major extent suggesting its anti-oxidant potential owing to replenishment of tissue pool of GSH. Further, NAC administration reduced the extent of accumulation of Pb and Cd in various tissues.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013
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    • "Although in the present study there were no significant differences in the testes’ weights in both the experimental and control groups, a study by Wang et al. has shown a significant reduction. This difference may be due to the mode of lead introduction in the lab animals (22). On the other hand, the interruptions in spermogram parameters following the effect of these fumes may be a reflection of changes in the spermatogenesis indexes as a basic mechanism for such changes. "
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    ABSTRACT: Toxic fumes generated during the soldering process contain various contaminants released at sufficient rates to cause both short- and long-term health problems. Studies have shown that these fumes change the quality and quantity of semen fluid in exposed workers. The aim of the present study was to determine the potentially toxic effects of solder fumes on spermatogenesis in seminiferous tubules of rats as an experimental model, with conditioned media in an exposed chamber. A total number of 48 male Sprague Dawley adult rats were randomly divided into experimental (n=30) and control (n=18) groups. Based on exposure time, each group was further subdivided into two, four and six subgroups. Rats in the experimental groups were exposed to solder fumes in an exposure chamber for one hour/ day. The concentrations of fumes [formaldehyde, stanum (Sn) and lead (Pb)] were measured by a standard method via atomic absorption and spectrophotometry. According to a timetable, under deep anesthesia, the rats of both experimental and control subgroups were killed. After fixation of testes, specimens were weighed and routinely processed. Paraffin sections were stained by hematoxylin and eosin. Spermiogenesis index was calculated and data analyzed by Mann Whitney NPAR test. ANALYSIS OF AIR SAMPLES IN THE EXPOSURE CHAMBER SHOWED THE FOLLOWING FUME CONCENTRATIONS: 0.193 mg/m(3) for formaldehyde, 0.35 mg/m(3) for Sn and 3 mg/m(3) for Pb. Although there was no significant difference in testes weight between control and experimental subgroups, there was only a significant difference in spermiogenesis index between the six week experimental and control subgroups (p<0.02). The results of this study showed that solder fumes can change the spermiogenesis index in experimental groups in a time dependent manner.
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