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Effects of ascorbic acid supplementation on male reproductive system during exposure to hypoxia

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Two groups of male rats were exposed to simulated altitudes of 6060 m and 7576 m for 6 h/day for 7 days (intermittent exposure). In two additional groups of animals exposed to the same altitude, 100 mg of ascorbic acid (AA) was fed daily for 5 days prior to the exposure period and also during the exposure period. Rats that did not receive AA showed loss of body weight and weight of reproductive organs after exposure. Sex organs showed atrophy on histological examination and there was a deterioration in spermatozoal quality. There was an increase in alkaline and acid phosphatase, and decrease in protein, sialic acid and glyceryl phosphorylcholine content in various reproductive tissues after exposure. All the above changes in histology and biochemical composition could be partially prevented by AA supplementation. AA supplementation can therefore protect the male reproductive system from deleterious effects of hypoxia. The probable mechanism of action of AA is discussed.

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Correspondence to G. Havazhagan.

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Havazhagan, G., Riar, S.S., Kain, A.K. et al. Effects of ascorbic acid supplementation on male reproductive system during exposure to hypoxia. Int J Biometeorol 33, 165–172 (1989).

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Key words

  • Hypoxia
  • Male reproduction
  • Ascorbic acid