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Background: Ethanol had been recognized to be a factor inducing male reproductive dysfunction. Most of the information concentrate on the acute single large dose and chronic effect of ethanol. To date, little is know concerning subacute toxicity of repetitive doses of ethanol.
Objectives: To study subacute toxicity of ethanol on the male reproduction system and determine the possible mechanism (s).
Method: Male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 2 groups; control and experimental groups. The control group received 0.9% NSS while the experimental groups received ethanol at various doses; 0.5,1,2,5 and 10 g/kg BW. Once daily for 5 days via subcutaneous route. Then they were determined weight and histology of testes, amount, motility and viability of sperms, levels of lipid peroxidation and serum testosterone.
Results: Ethanol treatment at doses of 2, 5 and 10 g/kg BW decreased sperm amount and sperm motility significantly. However, the effect of ethanol did not show a dose dependent manner. The spermatogenic arrest also occurred at the spermatocyte level. Ethanol also increased the level of lipid peroxidation in testes but it did not product a significant change in serum testosterone level.
Conclusions: Ethanol increased the level of lipid peroxidation in testes. This process may be partly spermatogenesis and motility of sperm. The present study showed that repetitive doses of ethanol even at moderate concentration was also able to impair reproductive function.
Key words: ethanol, sperm amount, sperm motility, spermatogenic arrest