Quercetin exacerbates the effects of subacute treatment of atrazine on reproductive tissue antioxidant defence system, lipid peroxidation and sperm quality in rats

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The study investigated the reproductive function and the antioxidant defence system of rats co-exposed to atrazine [ATZ, 120 mg kg−1 body weight (b. wt)] and quercetin (QT, 20 mg kg−1 b. wt.). ATZ had no significant effects on feed intake, body weights and reproductive organs weight except prostate weight. Sperm abnormalities were increased, whereas sperm production, sperm motility and epididymal and testicular sperm numbers were decreased with ATZ treatment. Antioxidant enzymes including superoxide dismutase, glutathione-S-transferase and glutathione peroxidase were significantly altered in the epididymis and testis resulting to lipid peroxidation. A potentiating response on glutathione-S-transferase and aspartate aminotransferase activities in the testis and on lactate dehydrogenase activity and glutathione level in the epididymis was observed in the QT + ATZ animals. Quercetin alone decreased seminal vesicle and prostate weights, increased superoxide dismutase activity in the testis and ascorbate level in the epididymis. Mild pathological changes were observed in the ATZ group, whereas considerable necrosis of seminiferous tubular cells with hypoplasia of the epithelia was observed in the QT + ATZ animals. The epididymis of these animals had multilayered and sometimes a single lining epididymal epithelium with few spermatozoa. We conclude that quercetin at the investigated dose increases the susceptibility of rat reproductive tissues to atrazine-induced oxidative damage.

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