Scientia Africana

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Sustained reduction of serum testosterone by D-allethrin administration in Albino rats

S.O. Okaelu, G.O. Agu


This study was carried out to examine the effect of prolonged oral administration of D-allethrin on the testes and serum testosterone levels in male albino rats. A total of 60 healthy adult male albino rats (Rattus norvegicus) were used. They were separated into four groups of 15 rats each. D-allethrin was orally administered to all rats in group II, group III and group IV at doses of 25, 100 and 175 mg/kg/day for four weeks respectively. Rats in group I served as control and were given the vehicle olive oil only. The rats in each of the groups were further separated into sub-groups of A and B of 9 and 6 rats respectively. Sub-group B (6 rats) were punctured at the tail region and blood samples taken once every week (7 days) and analyzed to determine the serum testosterone levels. Each time blood samples were collected from sub-group B rats, three rats from sub-group A were euthanized and testes excised, measured and fixed in 10% formalin for subsequent processing and histological studies. At the end of the fourth week, all the rats in sub-group B were also euthanized and their testes excised, measured and fixed in 10% formalin for subsequent processing and histological studies. Hormone profile analysis showed that serum testosterone levels decreased significantly (p<0.05) in rats treated with D-allethrin which indicates that the germ cell population of their seminiferous tubules were also affected since testosterone is required for the synthesis of germ cells. However, the testicular weights and testicular circumferences of the rats were not significantly affected. These findings suggest that chronic exposure to pesticides containing D-allethrin may disrupt gonadal steroidogenesis in male rats. Thus, investigations to further study the mechanism of D-allethrin toxicity and the reversibility/irreversibility of its pathological effects is highly recommended.

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