Histological study of the effect of paracetamol on the seminiferous tubules of adult rabbits: light and electron microscopy

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Abstract

Background

Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is a frequently used analgesic and antipyretic drug that is widely available without a prescription. Its overdose causes tissue injury, particularly in the liver.

Aim of the work

This study was conducted to determine the effect of paracetamol on the seminiferous tubules of adult rabbits.

Materials and methods

In this study, 18 adult male rabbits were utilized and equally divided into three groups (n=6): a control group (group I), a paracetamol low therapeutic dose group (group II), which received daily oral dose (8 mg/kg/day) for 3 weeks, and a paracetamol high therapeutic dose group (group III), which received a daily oral dose (16 mg/kg/day) for 3 weeks. Testicular specimens were obtained 1, 2, and 3 weeks from the start of the experiment and sections were prepared for light microscopic (H&E and Masson’s trichrome) and electron microscopic examination. Statistical analysis for the mean area % of collagen fibers was performed.

Results

The results revealed that a low dose of paracetamol exerted no harmful effect on the histological structure of seminiferous tubules, whereas a high dose induced a mild harmful effect (few spermatogenic cells with cytoplasmic vacuolization and small dark nuclei) after 1 week that became moderate in the second week sections. The effect of paracetamol was severe in the third week sections, with cell loss and alteration of the basement membrane of some spermatogenic cells. Statistical analysis of collagen fibers revealed a significant increase in collagen fibers’ accumulation in the second and third week sections of the high-dose paracetamol group.

Conclusion

It could be concluded that paracetamol is toxic to the rabbit testis when it is used in high repeated therapeutic doses. Thus, it should be used with caution, especially when a large, prolonged dose is indicated.

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