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Drug Chem Toxicol. 2016 Oct;39(4):432-8. doi: 10.3109/01480545.2016.1141421. Epub 2016 Feb 10.

Changes of sperm quality and hormone receptors in the rat testis after exposure to methamphetamine.

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a Department of Anatomy , Faculty of Medical Science, Naresuan University , Phitsanulok , Thailand and.
b Centre of Excellence in Medical Biotechnology, Faculty of Medical Science, Naresuan University , Phitsanulok , Thailand.


Methamphetamine (METH) is known to damage neurons and induce psychosis. It can also induce apoptosis in seminiferous tubules and affect sperm quality. The present study was carried out to investigate the effect of a rat model of METH addiction on sperm quality and expression of progesterone receptors (PR) and estrogen receptors (ER) in the testis. Sperm quality parameters including sperm motility, sperm morphology and sperm concentration were examined. Protein and gene expressions PR, ERα and ERβ were studied using immunohistochemistry and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, respectively. The percentages of normal sperm motility and normal sperm morphology were significantly decreased in animals receiving METH, especially in escalating dose (ED METH) and escalating dose-binge (ED-binge METH) groups when compared with control. In addition, sperm concentrations in ED METH and ED-binge METH groups were numerically decreased. PR, ERα and ERβ immunoreactive cells were significantly decreased in spermatogonia, spermatogenic cells and especially in Sertoli cells in all METH-treated groups. Furthermore, messenger RNA expression of PR, ERα and ERβ were also significantly decreased in all METH-treated animals. These results indicate that METH can induce abnormal sperm quality. These changes of sperm quality may relate to the reduction of PR, ERα and ERβ expressions in male germ cells and Sertoli cells which are essential for spermatogenesis and development of sperm.


Rat testis; estrogen receptor; methamphetamine; progesterone receptor; sperm quality

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