, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 45-48

Effects of smoking on testicular function and fertilizing potential in rats

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Abstract

We evaluated the effects of smoking on testicular function and fertilizing potential in rats. Twenty rats (group A) were exposed to the smoke of 20 cigarettes for 1 h per day. Ten rats (group B) were exposed to the smoke of 40 incense sticks for 1 h per day, and an additional 10 rats served as a control group (group C). After 10 weeks of daily exposure, serum levels of nicotine and cotinine were assessed, and a mating test was conducted. Five days later, serum concentrations of testosterone before and after human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) stimulation, gonadotropins, and epididymal sperm content and motility were evaluated. In addition, in vitro fertilization was carried out. Nicotine and cotinine were detected in group A, but not in groups B and C. Basal serum testosterone and gonadotropin concentrations did not differ significantly among the three groups, but the testosterone response to hCG stimulation was significantly lower in group A than in groups B and C. Group A showed significant reductions in epididymal sperm content and motility, and in fertility in vivo and in vitro. These findings suggest that smoking leads to a secretory dysfunction of the Leydig cells, and also a deficiency in sperm maturation and spermatogenesis. In addition, smoking has a detrimental effect on sperm fertilizing potentials in vivo and in vitro.

Received: 18 December / Accepted: 27 May 1997