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Volume 8, Issue 3 (May 2006) 8, 289–299; 10.1111/j.1745-7262.2006.00140.x

Histological changes of the testis and epididymis in adult rats as a result of Leydig cell destruction after ethane dimethane sulfonate treatment: a morphometric study

Zheng-Wei Yang, Ling-Shu Kong, Yang Guo, Jin-Qi Yin and Nathaniel Mills

1.Morphometric Research Laboratory, North Sichuan Medical College, Nanchong 637007, China
2.Department of Biology, Texas Woman's University, Denton, Texas 76204, USA

Correspondence: Prof. Zheng-Wei Yang, Morphometric Research Laboratory, North Sichuan Medical College, 234 Fujiang Road, Nanchong, Sichuan 637007, China. Fax: +86-817-2242-600. E-mail: zwyang@mail.nctele.com

Received 27 April 2005; Accepted 13 January 2006


Aim: To quantitatively study the histological changes of the testis and epididymis as a result of a drastic reduction of testosterone secretion.

Methods: Fourteen adult Sprague-Dawley rats were injected intraperitoneally with ethane dimethane sulfonate (EDS, 75 mg/kg) and the same number of animals were injected with normal saline as a control. At days 7 and 12 (after treatment), respectively, half of the animals from each group were killed. The testes and epididymides were removed and tissue blocks embedded in methacrylate resin. The cell number per testis was estimated using the stereological optical disector and some other parameters were obtained using other morphometric methods.

Results: The EDS treatment resulted in an almost complete elimination of Leydig cells but had no effect on the numbers of Sertoli cells per testis. At day 7 after EDS treatment, many elongated spermatids were retained in the seminiferous epithelium and many round spermatids could be seen in the epididymal ducts. At day 12, a looser arrangement of spermatids and spermatocytes became evident, with apparent narrow empty spaces being formed between germ cells in an approximately radial direction towards the tubule lumen; the numbers (per testis) of non-type B spermatogonia and spermatocytes were similar to controls, whereas that of type B spermatogonia increased by 59%, and that of early round, elongating and late elongated spermatids decreased by 37%, 72% and 52%, respectively.

Conclusion: The primary spermatogenic lesions following EDS administration were (i) spermiation failure and (ii) detachment of spermatids and spermatocytes associated with impairment in spermiogenesis and meiosis.

Keywords: epididymis, ethane dimethane sulfonate, Leydig cells, morphometry, spermatogenesis, stereology, testis, testosterone

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