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Acute and Chronic Effects of a Contraceptive Compound RTI-4587-073(l) on Testicular Histology and Endocrine Function in Miniature Horse Stallions

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The objective of this study was to evaluate acute endocrine effects as well as histological changes in testicular parenchyma induced by the contraceptive compound RTI-4587-073(l). Six miniature stallions were used in this experiment. The treatment group (n = 3) received one oral dose of 12.5 mg/kg of RTI-4587-073(l), and the control group (n = 3) received placebo only. The stallions' baseline parameters (semen, testicular dimensions, endocrine values) were collected and recorded for 5 weeks before treatment and for 6 weeks after treatment. Multiple blood samples were collected for endocrine analysis. Testicular biopsies were obtained before treatment, 1 day after treatment and every other week after treatment. Ultrasound exams were performed to monitor the dimensions of the stallions' testes. All stallions were castrated 6 weeks after treatment. Sperm numbers, motility and percentage of morphologically normal sperm decreased (p < 0.05), while the number of immature germ cells increased in ejaculates from treated animals (p < 0.05). Serum concentrations of inhibin and follicle-stimulating hormone did not change. Testosterone concentrations initially transiently decreased (p < 0.05) after administration of RTI-4587-073(l), and increased several days later (p < 0.05). Testicular content of testosterone and estradiol 17-β was lower in treated stallions than in control stallions on Day 1 after treatment (p < 0.05). Severe disorganization of the seminiferous tubules, significant loss of immature germ cells and complete depletion of elongated spermatids were observed in testicular biopsies obtained from treated stallions 1 day, 2 and 4 weeks after treatment. These changes were still present in the testicular samples taken from treated stallions after castration. The results of this study confirmed that RTI-4587-073(l) has antispermatogenic effects in stallions. Furthermore, we concluded that this compound causes acute sloughing of immature germ cells from the seminiferous tubules. RTI-4587-073(l) has significant but transient effects on Leydig cell function in stallions.

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