Could vitamin C and zinc chloride protect the germ cells against sodium arsenite?
Arsenic (As) is commonly associated with natural and human processes such as volcanic emissions, mining and herbicides production, being an important pollutant. Several studies have associated As intake with male fertility reduction, thus the aim of the present study was to evaluate whether vitamin C and/or zinc would counteract As side effects within the testicles. Adult male Wistar rats were divided into six experimental groups: control, sodium arsenite (5 mg/kg/day), vitamin C (100 mg/kg/day), zinc chloride (ZnCl2; 20 mg/kg/day), sodium arsenite + vitamin C and sodium arsenite + ZnCl2. Testicles and epididymis were harvested and either frozen or routinely processed to be embedded in glycol methacrylate resin. As reduced the seminiferous epithelium and tubules diameter due to germ cell loss. In addition, both the round spermatids population and the daily sperm production were reduced. However, ZnCl2 and vitamin C showed to be effective against such side effects, mainly regarding to sperm morphology. Long-term As intake increased the proportions of abnormal sperm, whereas the concomitant intake of As with zinc or vitamin C enhanced the proportions of normal sperm, showing that such compounds could be used to protect this cell type against morphological defects.