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Cadmium-Induced Testicular Toxicity, Oxidative Stress and Histopathology in Wistar Rats: Sustained Effects of Polyphenol-Rich Extract of Vernonia Amygdalina (Del.) Leaf

Christian Eseigbe Imafidon, Olatoye Taiwo Risikat, Bamidele Funminiyi Samuel, Ojo Opeyemi Esther, Ademoye Kehinde Aderonke.

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Background: Cadmium (Cd) is a toxic heavy metal of both environmental and occupational concerns. The health impact of ethno-botanical approaches in attempts to ameliorate its deleterious effects in biological systems should be an area of scientific interest since established therapies are often burdened with undesirable side effects. Aim: To determine the effects of polyphenol-rich extract of the leaf of Vernonia amygdalina (PEVA) on Cd-induced testicular toxicity, oxidative stress, and histopathology in Wistar rats. Materials and Methods: A total of twenty five (25) male Wistar rats were divided into five groups as follows: Group 1 (Control) received distilled water (0.2 ml/100 g i.p.) for 5 consecutive days and thereafter left untreated for 28 days. Group 2 received Cd alone at 5 mg/kg (i.p.) for 5 consecutive days. Group 3 was pre-treated with Cd as Group 2 and thereafter left untreated for a period of 28 days, whereas Groups 4 and 5 were pre-treated with Cd as Group 2 and thereafter received PEVA (orally) at two dose levels (200 and 400 mg/kg, respectively) for 28 days. Results: Cd administration induced reproductive toxicity as evidenced by lowered level of follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and testosterone (P < 0.05); perturbation of sperm characterization (P < 0.05); deleterious disruptions of the antioxidant system as evidenced by lowered levels of reduced glutathione and superoxide dismutase as well as elevation in thiobarbituric acid reactive substances level (P < 0.05); decrease in relative testicular weight (P < 0.05); and severe disseminated necrosis of the seminiferous tubules with terminally undifferentiated/necrotic cells as revealed by the histopathological examination. These conditions were sustained following administration of the two dose levels of PEVA. Conclusion: PEVA administration is not a suitable therapeutic choice for fertility enhancement in male Wistar rat model of Cd-induced decline in reproductive function.

Key words: Cadmium, testicular toxicity, rats, polyphenol-rich extract, Vernonia amygdalina.

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