Author(s): Paccola CC, Neves FM, Cipriano I, Stumpp T, Miraglia SM
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Abstract Nicotine is largely consumed as a component of cigarettes. It induces apoptosis, interferes with endocrine function by changing the sex hormones secretion and leads to male infertility. Testosterone is produced from cholesterol by Leydig cells (LC), with the participation of testicular macrophages (MO). Thus, to investigate whether nicotine administration to pregnant and lactating rats changes cholesterol and sexual hormone levels and LC and MO populations of offspring, female rats received nicotine (2 mg/kg/day) through osmotic minipumps from the first day of pregnancy up to the end of weaning. At 1, 30, 60 and 90 days post-partum (dpp) the plasma cholesterol and testosterone levels were obtained, as well as the biometric, histopathological and stereological testicular parameters. Nicotine reduced the body weight, cholesterol levels and lipid droplet number in foetal LC at 1 dpp. The number of apoptotic LC did not change in the offspring of nicotine group at any age studied. No alterations in the numerical densities of MO and LC occurred at 60 and 90 dpp. Hypertrophy of mature LC and increase in cholesterol and testosterone levels were noted at 90 dpp. In conclusion, nicotine when administered to rats throughout pregnancy and lactation induces morphofunctional alterations of foetal and mature LC and affects cholesterol and testosterone levels. © 2013 American Society of Andrology and European Academy of Andrology.
This article was published in Andrology
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology