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Asian J Androl. 2004 Dec;6(4):331-6.

Radio-protective effect of vitamin E on spermatogenesis in mice exposed to gamma-irradiation: a flow cytometric study.

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Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand.



To investigate the effect of vitamin E on the radioprotection of spermatogenesis and chromatin condensation of spermatozoa during passage through the epididymis in mice exposed to irradiation.


Adult outbred male ICR mice were orally administered natural vitamin E (VE, D-alpha-tocopheryl acetate) at 400 IU/kg for 7 days before exposure to 1 Gy of gamma-irradiation. The animals were sacrificed at day 1, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 70 post-irradiation (IR) and the percentage of testicular germ cells and epididymal sperm chromatin condensation was analyzed using flow cytometry.


Serum D-alpha-tocopheryl acetate levels were 47.4+/-3.2 microg/dL in the treated group, yet it could not be detected in the control group. The testicular weight of irradiated mice pretreated with VE+IR was significantly (P<0.05) higher than that of those without VE treatment (IR) at day 14 and 21 post-irradiation. The percentage of primary spermatocytes (4C) in the VE+IR group was comparable to the controls but significantly (P<0.05) higher than those in the IR group from day 7 to 35 post-irradiation. The percentage of round spermatids (1C) in the VE+IR group was also significantly (P<0.05) higher than those in the IR group at day 28 post-irradiation. The primary spermatocytes : spermatogonia ratio in the IR group was significantly (P<0.05) declined at day 7 to 35 post-irradiation when compared to the VE+IR and control groups. The round spermatid : spermatogonia ratio in the VE+IR group was significantly (P<0.05) higher than that of the IR group at day 14 and 28 post-irradiation. The chromatin condensation of epididymal spermatozoa measured by propidium iodide uptake was not affected by 1 Gy of gamma-irradiation.


The administration of VE prior to irradiation protects spermatogenic cells from radiation.

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