Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Arch Toxicol. 2001 Jul;75(5):297-305.

Testicular toxicity of nitrofurazone causing germ cell apoptosis in rats.

Author information

  • 1Section of Safety, Research Laboratories, Torii Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, Chiba, Japan.


In order to clarify the mechanism underlying testicular toxicity of nitrofurazone (NF), two experiments were performed. In experiment 1, sequential histopathological examination of testes after a single oral administration of 100 or 300 mg/kg NF to male rats demonstrated that degeneration of pachytene spermatocytes with an eosinophilic, shrunken appearance in stages VII-VIII and vacuolation of Sertoli cells were first observed 12 h after treatment. By 24 h, degeneration of pachytene spermatocytes in stages VII-XII and diplotene spermatocytes were observed. On post-treatment day 4, neither spermatocytes nor spermatids located inside the pachytene spermatocytes in stage VII were seen anywhere. Generation of seminiferous epithelium progressed with recovery to almost normal morphology after 12 weeks, although some morphological changes were still present. No lesions were apparent in spermatogonia, preleptotene spermatocytes, leptotene spermatocytes, zygotene spermatocytes or Leydig cells. Degenerate pachytene spermatocytes and some round spermatids seen after 24 h showed positive TdT-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL). In addition, DNA laddering patterns were detected with agarose gel electrophoresis, and increased electron density of nuclei and cytoplasm of degenerating spermatocytes with nuclear chromatin focal aggregations were observed by electron microscopy, indicating that cell death was attributable to apoptosis. In experiment 2, sequential serum sex-related hormone levels were assayed after a single oral administration of 300 mg/kg NF to male rats and revealed a significant increase of testosterone and a decrease of progesterone at 6 h, and decreases of luteinizing hormone at 12 h and testosterone at 24 h. Prolactin tended to decrease from 12 h after treatment and the decrease was significant at 48 h. No significant changes were observed in levels of follicle-stimulating hormone or estradiol. The probability that NF damages germ cells by causing a hormonal imbalance is extremely low, since no pattern of hormonal imbalance that could be regarded as the cause of the testicular degeneration was observed until 12 h after NF treatment when pachytene spermatocytes began to degenerate. The present experiments suggest that NF damages Sertoli cells and pachytene spermatocytes in stages VII-XII directly.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk