The effects of human chorionic gonadotrophin on normal testicular tissue of rats: dose-dependence and reversibility

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To investigate the effect of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) on rat testicular tissue, and its reversibility and dose dependence.


Male Wistar rats were assigned to groups (10 rats/group) receiving 10, 30 or 50 IU/kg hCG subcutaneously once daily for 15 days; 10 controls received subcutaneous isotonic saline. At 1 and 3 months later, five rats in each group were killed and their testes removed. The testes were examined histologically to measure seminiferous tubular diameter and germinal membrane thickness.


At 1 month after hCG administration, the mean germinal membrane thickness in the testicular tissues of the hCG-treated rats was significantly less than in control rats, and was also significantly different between all of the hCG-treated groups (P < 0.05). However, at 3 months after hCG administration, all histological variables were similar to those in control rats (P > 0.05), and the mean germinal membrane thickness at 3 months after hCG administration was larger than that at 1 month (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences in the mean seminiferous tubular diameter between hCG-treated rats and control rats.


hCG impairs seminiferous tubule histology in the ‘normal’ descended testes of rats. This effect was dose-dependent, and the changes were reversed at 3 months after treatment. Thus, although hCG therapy might affect the seminiferous tubules of contralateral descended testes in cryptorchid boys, these effects might be reversible.

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