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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1988 Jan;92(1):18-27.

Rat testis during 2,5-hexanedione intoxication and recovery. I. Dose response and the reversibility of germ cell loss.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912.


The histopathology of the testicular injury induced by 2,5-hexanedione (2,5-HD) exposure was examined in the rat. Charles River CD rats (200 g) were intoxicated by consuming 1% 2,5-HD in the drinking water or by intraperitoneal injection of the toxicant. Both neurotoxic and subneurotoxic exposures were studied, the total dose ranging from 40 to 211 mmol/kg. The following results were obtained: (1) there was a time delay between administration of the toxicant and development of the testicular injury, (2) Sertoli cell vacuolation in stages associated with the meiotic metaphase was the first histological sign of cellular injury at all doses, (3) subneurotoxic doses produced selective defects in germ cells in stages I-VIII of the spermatogenic cycle, (4) both subneurotoxic and neurotoxic doses produced germ cell necrosis and generalized sloughing of germ cells, and (5) intensive intoxication followed by a 17-week recovery period resulted in an absence of all postspermatogonial germ cells from the seminiferous epithelium of three of five treated rats. These data demonstrate that 2,5-hexanedione-induced testicular atrophy occurs at exposure levels below those producing clinical neurotoxicity and that, within the time frame of this study, the testicular injury is at least partially irreversible.

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