The effect of biological dyes and contrast media on the vas deferens in Long Evans rats

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The conventional diagnostic procedure of vasography utilizes a contrast medium to evaluate the patency of the vas deferens. With the development of microsurgical reconstruction for obstructive azoospermia in the past two decades, intraoperative vasography with saline or biological dye injection has replaced the use of radiographic contrast media. However, there are few reports on the effect of biological dyes on the healthy vas deferens. Therefore, we used experimental vasography to evaluate histological changes and functional patency of the vas deferens after infusion with a contrast medium and biological dye.

Four groups of 10 Long Evans male rats were injected by vasopuncture with 1% methylene blue, 1% gentian violet and 38% Urografin or saline into the vas deferens. The animals were killed 30 days later, and the vasa deferentia were excised and examined for histological changes and for functional patency. Vasopuncture with saline injection induced minimal change both at the puncture site and in the distal vas deferens. In both the Urografin- and methylene blue-injected groups, inflammation at the puncture site was found in 20-22% of cases, and 10-11% of cases revealed functional obstruction of the vasal lumen. In the gentian violet-injected group, severe histological and obliterated changes were found in all cases. Leakage of the dye and contrast medium or the sperm reaction may be responsible for the inflammation; otherwise, methylene blue and urografin did not seem to be harmful to the vas deferens. Although gentian violet is a blue dye, as is methylene blue, it has marked destructive effects on the vas deferens. It is concluded that some biological dyes used for vasal injection can cause occlusion of the vasal lumen, while inflammatory responses can occur from placing a needle transmurally.

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