The protective role of Arctium lappa (AL) on the testes of rats acutely exposed to cadmium (Cd) was tested. The rats were randomly divided into a control group (C-group) and three major experimental groups, which were further subdivided into minor groups (n = 6) according to the experimental period (7 or 56 days). The C-group was subdivided into C-7 and C-56 [receiving a single saline solution, intraperitoneal (i.p.), on the first day]; the AL-group, AL-7, and AL-56, received AL extract (300 mg/kg/daily); the Cd group, Cd-7 and Cd-56, received a single i.p. dose of CdCl2 (1.2 mg/kg body weight (BW)) on the first day; the CdAL group, CdAL-7 and CdAL-56, received the same Cd dose, followed by AL extract. Water or AL extract was administered daily by gavage. After either 7 or 56 days, the testis and accessory glands were removed after whole-body perfusion. Exposure to Cd and CdAL decreased the weight of the testis and epididymis, the gonadosomatic index, seminiferous tubular (ST) diameter, and ST volumetric proportion, and increased the volumetric proportion of interstitium after 56 days. In the epididymis caput, the tubular volumetric proportion decreased along with an increase of interstitial volumetric proportion and epithelium height after 56 days. The alterations observed were less severe only after 7 days. A progressive testicular damage resulted mainly in tubules lined only by Sertoli cells. The sperm number and cell debris decreased in the epididymis. We demonstrated that the testicular damage induced by single acute i.p. exposure to Cd occurred despite the daily oral intake of AL extract.
Cadmium Reproductive male toxicity Arctium lappa extract
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Compliance with ethical standards
This work was supported by grants and scholarships from the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (grant number 2006⁄06142-8) and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the Committee for Ethics in Animal Experimentation of UNICAMP (1232–1).
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