Chronic Lead Treatment and Ultrastructure of the Testis in Rats

  • M. Carmignani
  • P. Boscolo
  • G. Sacchettoni-Logroscino
  • G. Carelli
Conference paper
Part of the Archives of Toxicology book series (TOXICOLOGY, volume 12)


Lead (Pb) exposure may impair the reproductive function of fish, animals, and humans. A reduced fertility (with an increased frequency of asthenospermia, hypospermia, and teratospermia) was found by Lancranjan et al. (1975) in two groups of Pb-exposed workers with mean blood Pb levels of 53 μg/dl and 74 μg/ dl. Cullen et al. (1984) established a relationship, involving the hypothalamicpituitary axis, between reduced spermatogenesis and hormonal changes in patients with overt Pb intoxication. Furthermore, several studies showed that high doses of Pb may induce in laboratory animals morphological alterations of the male reproductive organs and impaired spermatogenesis as well as testicular atrophy (Thomas and Brogan 1983; Chowdhury et al. 1984). However, lower doses of Pb do not seem to affect the reproductive function (Willems et al. 1982). It remains to be established whether the effects of Pb on the testis are due to a direct action of the metal at this level or to actions of Pb on the hypothalamicnituitary axis or to both (Sokol et al. 1985).


Sertoli Cell Lead Exposure Testicular Atrophy Male Reproductive Organ Impaired Spermatogenesis 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Carmignani
    • 1
    • 5
  • P. Boscolo
    • 2
  • G. Sacchettoni-Logroscino
    • 3
  • G. Carelli
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Cell Biology and PhysiologyUniversity of L’AquilaL’AquilaItaly
  2. 2.Chair of Industrial ToxicologyUniversity of ChietiChietiItaly
  3. 3.Institute of PathologyCatholic University School of MedicineRomeItaly
  4. 4.Institute of Occupational MedicineCatholic University School of MedicineRomeItaly
  5. 5.Institute of PharmacologyCatholic University School of MedicineRomeItaly

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