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Contraception. 1992 Mar;45(3):249-61.

Effects of multiglycosides of Tripterygium wilfordii (GTW) on rat fertility and Leydig and Sertoli cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, P. R. China.


Primary cultures of rat Leydig and Sertoli cells were used to evaluate the direct effects of GTW on testicular cells and to compare these to the effects of gossypol acetate. Both GTW and gossypol acetate can affect the survival of Leydig and Sertoli cells. But Sertoli cells are much more sensitive than Leydig cells, either to gossypol acetate or GTW. Leydig and Sertoli cells all died when they were exposed to gossypol acetate or GTW at a dose of 3.0 micrograms/ml or 30 micrograms/ml, respectively, for 24 hours. The cell survival-time course demonstrated that the cell numbers were decreased after 2 hours, and especially so after 8 hours. No significant changes were observed in testosterone production in Leydig cells after 24 hours of exposure to 1.0-20 micrograms/ml GTW. The forward motility of epididymal spermatozoa was completely lost and fertility of rat was significantly inhibited after the treatment of GTW in vivo. It is concluded that GTW does affect the fertility of rat and viability of cultured rat Leydig and Sertoli cells.

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