Effect of in utero and lactational nicotine exposure on the male reproductive tract in peripubertal and adult rats
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The objective of this study was to determine the effect of in utero and lactational exposure to nicotine on the male reproductive tract. Dams were randomly assigned to receive saline or nicotine bitartrate (1mg/kg-d s.c.) daily for two weeks prior to mating until weaning (postnatal day 21). Male offspring were sacrificed at 7 (peri-pubertal) and 26 (adult) weeks of age. Nicotine-exposure resulted in retention of spermatids after stage VIII, tubular vacuolation, degeneration of pachytene and round spermatids at stage VII in the testes; and lymphocyte infiltration, germ cell exfoliation, and hypospermia in epididymides, at 7 weeks of age. Nicotine-exposure had no effect on testis or epididymal morphology, daily sperm production, epididymal sperm reserve, sperm viability at 26 weeks of age, and circulating testosterone levels at either age examined. We conclude that maternal nicotine-exposure during pregnancy and lactation can induce transient structural changes in the testis and epididymis of male offspring.
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