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Allethrin induced toxicity in the male reproductive tract of rats contributes to disruption in the transcription of genes involved in germ cell production



Pyrethroids are known to be neurotoxic. However, their toxic effects including that of allethrin on the male reproductive tract are not elucidated. Adult male rats were treated orally with 25, 50, 100, and 150 mg/kg body weight allethrin every day for 60 days. Lipid peroxidation was increased (p < 0.001) in the caput, cauda, and testes. Nitric oxide production was increased (p < 0.001) in the caput, but unaltered in the cauda and testes. The activities of catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione-S-transferase, and superoxide dismutase were decreased in the caput and cauda where as a decrease was observed in the testis obtained from allethrin treated rats. In the epididymides and testes, damage to tubular architecture, congestion, degeneration of epithelial cell lining, intestinal edema, and presence of dead or degenerating spermatids were observed in a dose dependent manner. The expression profile of genes involved in spermatogenesis (Tgf-beta1), sperm maturation (Spag11e), and sperm function (Defb22) were reduced (p < 0.001) in allethrin rats. The expression of p53 gene was decreased and increased phosphorylation of MAPK (p42/p44) expression was observed the male reproductive tract tissues of allethrin treated rats. Although earlier studies have reported the effects of allethrin inhalation because of the use of mosquito coils and vaporizers, our results for the first time prove that oral exposure to allethrin could affect fertility and may contribute to deregulation of cell cycle in the male reproductive tract. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 29: 1330–1345, 2014.