This study investigated the effects of gestational and lactational exposure to lead and cadmium on testicular steroidogenesis, antioxidant system and male accessory gland functions in F1 generation rats to understand the biochemical mechanisms involved in endocrine disruptions. Pregnant rats were subcutaneously administered with 0.05mgkg-1 body wtday-1 of sodium acetate (control), lead acetate, cadmium acetate and (lead acetate+cadmium acetate) throughout the gestational-lactational period, and all animals from each of the experimental groups were sacrificed by decapitation on post-natal day 56 for performing various biochemical assays. We observed significant reduction in the activities of testicular key steroidogenic enzymes and serum testosterone concentration along with significant depletion in cholesterol, ascorbic acid and reduced glutathione contents in all the metal-treated groups. Reductions in the activities of catalase and superoxide dismutase with concomitant increase in the levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substance were observed in experimental groups. Both sperm contents and sperm motility patterns were significantly altered in all the metal-treated groups, suggesting the direct/indirect spermotoxic effects of lead and cadmium. The inhibitory effects of lead, cadmium and combined exposure on testicular steroidogenesis machinery, along with the male accessory gland functions, are indicative of multiple targets of lead and cadmium to disrupt male reproductive functions.
- Antioxidant system
- Gestational-lactational exposure
- Sperm count
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