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International Journal of Morphology

versión On-line ISSN 0717-9502


BUSTOS-OBREGON, Eduardo; CASTRO-SANCHEZ, Rodrigo; RAMOS-GONZALEZ, Benito  y  TORRES-DIAZ, Leandro. Rat Spermatogenesis Damage in Intermittent Hypobaric Hypoxia and the Protective Role of Melatonin. II: Testicular Parameters. Int. J. Morphol. [online]. 2010, vol.28, n.2, pp.537-547. ISSN 0717-9502.

At present it is not clear if male fertility is affected by intermittent hypobaric hypoxia (IHH). This is an important issue since a large human population works over 3000 masl. This study analyzes testicular changes in adult Sprague Dawley rats after five cycles of IHH (7 day exposure to 4200 masl in a hypobaric chamber / 7 day at 500 masl). The animals were separated into groups of 8, one group was exposed to hypoxia (7 days), and the others to IHH for one to five cycles. Controls (500 masl) were examined at the beginning and at the end of the 70 experimental days. A duplicate set of rats treated with melatonin (supposedly protecting from hypoxia) was also examined, as were their controls, injected with 0,03% ethanol (melatonin solvent).Immunohistochemical and histometric analysis of testicular tissue were performed. Damage caused by IHH increases with time. Morphometry reveals an increase in tubular and luminal diameters and a reduction in epithelial height. Inmunohistochemistry for HIF-1alpha shows an increase with time, however the opposite happens with HSP-70. Spermatogenic cells submitted to comet assay present an increase of (+) cells. Melatonin counteracts all this damage, possibly due to its high efficiency as a reactive oxygen species scavenger. In conclusion, IHH exposure damages male reproductive function.

Palabras clave : Spermatogenesis; intermittent hypobaric hypoxia; melatonin protection.

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