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Toxicology. 2005 Nov 5;215(1-2):97-107. Epub 2005 Aug 10.

Aluminium-induced deterioration in reproductive performance and seminal plasma biochemistry of male rabbits: protective role of ascorbic acid.

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Department of Environmental Studies, Institute of Graduate Studies and Research, Alexandria University, 163 Horreya Avenue, P.O. Box. 832, Alexandria 21526, Egypt.


Aluminium (Al) has been proposed as an environmental factor that may contribute to some diseases, affect several enzymes and other biomolecules and induced free radical-mediated cytotoxicity. Also, Al induced reproductive toxicity and exerted a significant adverse effect on the steroidogenesis. The antioxidant ascorbic acid (AA) plays an important role in various physiological processes in the body including detoxification of different toxic materials. Therefore, the present investigation aimed to elucidate possible protective effects of AA in alleviating the toxicity of aluminium chloride (AlCl3) on reproductive performance, lipid peroxidation and enzyme activities in seminal plasma of male New Zealand white rabbits. Six rabbits per group were assigned to one of four treatment groups: 0 mg AA and 0 mg AlCl3 /kg body weight (BW) (control); 40 mg AA/kg BW; 34 mg AlCl3 /kg BW; 34 mg AlCl3 plus 40 mg AA/kg BW. Rabbits were orally administered their respective doses every other day for 16 weeks. Results obtained showed that AlCl3 significantly (P<0.05) decreased libido (by increasing the reaction time), ejaculate volume, sperm concentration, total sperm output, sperm motility (%), total motile sperm per ejaculate (TMS), packed sperm volume (PSV), total functional sperm fraction (TFSF), normal and live sperm and semen initial fructose. While initial hydrogen ion concentration (pH) and dead and abnormal sperm were increased (P<0.05). Live body weight (LBW), feed intake (FI) and relative weights of testes (RTW) and epididymis (REW) were significantly (P<0.05) decreased. Concentrations of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) were significantly (P<0.05) increased in seminal plasma of rabbits treated with AlCl3 compared with control. While, activities of glutathione S-transferase (GST), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and acid phosphatase (AcP) were significantly (P<0.05) decreased. Ascorbic acid alone significantly increased LBW, FI, RTW, REW, semen characteristics and seminal plasma enzymes, and decreased the levels of free radicals. Also, the present study showed that ascorbic acid might be effective in the protection of aluminium-induced reproductive toxicity. It was suggested that AlCl3 exerted a significant adverse effect on reproductive performance of male rabbits. Furthermore, AA could be able to antagonize the toxic effects of AlCl3 and improved semen quality of male rabbit.

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