Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 337, Issue 2, pp 269–280 | Cite as

Carnitine reduces testicular damage in rats treated with etoposide in the prepubertal phase

  • Fatima Kazue OkadaEmail author
  • Taiza Stumpp
  • Sandra Maria Miraglia
Regular Article


Etoposide is a chemotherapeutic agent that induces cell death by blocking topoisomerase II catalytic function. Although etoposide is effective in the treatment of cancer, it also causes the death of normal proliferating cells, including male germ cells. Administration of etoposide during the prepubertal phase causes diturbances in several testicular morphometric parameters and in Sertoli cells. Cytoprotection of the seminiferous epithelium is the only means of preserving potential male reproduction in prepubertal cancer patients. Carnitine, an amino acid naturally present in normal cells, is a promising cryoprotectant as it is concentrated in the epididymis and promotes sperm maturation. We have therefore investigated whether carnitine protects rat testes against etoposide and, thus, improves fertility in adulthood. Our results suggest that carnitine partially protects the testis against damage caused by etoposide, although the mechanism by which it happens remains unknown.


Carnitine Etoposide Apoptosis Spermatogenesis Testis Rat (Wistar) 

Supplementary material

441_2009_801_MOESM1_ESM.doc (34 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 23 kb)
441_2009_801_Fig1_ESM.gif (648 kb)
Fig. S1-S2

S1: Photomicrographs of rat testicular cross-sections of the Sham-control group submitted to PAS + H method. A: Seminiferous epithelium of a 32 day-old rat showing normal morphology of the seminiferous epithelium. Note the presence of type B spermatogonia (arrow) Inset: Detail of a type B spermatogonium. B: Sections of seminiferous tubules of a 64 day-old rat. The seminiferous epithelium shows normal morphology and step 19 spermatids are observed, indicating that spermiogenesis is complete. Inset: Detail of step 19 spermatids observed in the seminiferous epithelium of these rats. C: Seminiferous tubule section of an adult rat (127 day-old) showing normal morphology. Inset: Detail of step 19 spermatids observed in this seminiferous epithelium. S2: Photomicrographs of testicular cross-sections of Sham-control rats submitted to TUNEL-method. A: Sections of seminiferous tubules of a 32 day-old rat. Observe the TUNEL-positive cell located in the region generally occupied by the primary spermatocytes (arrow). B: Seminiferous tubule section of a 64 day-old rat showing a TUNEL-positive cell located near to the peritubular tissue (arrow). C: Seminiferous tubule section of a S127 rat showing TUNEL-positive cells located in the region generally occupied by spermatogonia (arrows) (TIFF 807 KB).

441_2009_801_Fig1_ESM.tif (808 kb)
High resolution image file (TIF 486 KB).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fatima Kazue Okada
    • 1
    Email author
  • Taiza Stumpp
    • 1
  • Sandra Maria Miraglia
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Developmental BiologyFederal University of Sao PauloSao PauloBrazil

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