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vol.15 número2ANALISIS CUANTITATIVO Y TOPOGRAFICOS DEL AZUFRE EN LA ZONA PELUCIDA DE LOS OVOCITOS DE RATON, HAMSTER Y CONEJOEFECTO DEL ION COBRE EN EL DESARROLLO EMBRIONARIO DE POLLO (Gallus gallus) índice de autoresíndice de materiabúsqueda de artículos
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Revista chilena de anatomía

versión impresa ISSN 0716-9868

Rev. chil. anat. v.15 n.2 Temuco  1997

http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0716-98681997000200003 

EFFECTS OF EXPERIMENTAL CHRONIC ALCOHOLISM ON THE SEMINAL
VESICLE AND TESTIS WEIGHT OF ADULT RATS (Rattus norvegicus)

EFECTOS DEL ALCOHOLISMO CRONICO EXPERIMENTAL SOBRE EL PESO DE
VESICULAS SEMINALES Y TESTICULOS DE RATAS ADULTAS (Rattus norvegicus)

 

Martinez, F. E.
Martinez, M.
Cagnon, V. H. A.
Mello Junior, W.
Padovani, C. R.
Garcia, P. J.

Department of Anatomy, Institute of Biosciences, Paulista State University, Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil.

SUMMARY: Effects of experimental chronic alcoholism on the accessory sexual glands weight and testes weight were studied. Male adult albino rats received only sugar cane brandy at 30 Gay Lussac (v/v), while the controls received tap water. After periods of 60, 120, 180 and 240 days, rats from each group were anesthetized, weighed and sacrificed. Alterations in mean daily solid food intake and liquid, mean daily weight gain, mean prostate weight, mean seminal vesicle and coagulating gland weights and testes weight were examined.

The experimental chronic alcoholism affected the seminal vesicle and testis weight, reducing them. It was observed a recovery of the variables studied after alcohol withdrawal at 240 days of treatment.

KEY WORDS: 1. Alcohol; 2. Accessory sexual glands; 3. Testes.

INTRODUCTION

The association between chronic alcohol ingestion and male reproductive failure has been well documented clinically (VAN THIEL et al., 1974; LINDHOLM et al., 1978; MAJUMDAR, 1979) and in laboratory experiments (KLASSEN & PERSAUD, 1978; VAN THIEL et al., 1979; WILLIS et al., 1983; ANDERSON JR. et al., 1987). Investigations utilizing animal models (VAN THIEL et al., 1975; GORDON et al., 1979; WILLIS & GUPTA, 1981; MARTINEZ et al., 1993, 1995; CAGNON et al., 1996) have demonstrated hormonal imbalance and reproductive tract impairment after long-term exposure to ethanol. However, a considerable variery of ingestion patterns, types and quantity of consumed alcohol, period of alcohol ingestion and nutritonal state has been reported in the literature. These variables are very important in the evaluation of the results obtained because of their effects on the data.

Thus, the objective of the present investigation was to study daily weight gain, weight of the accessory sex glands and weight of the testis of rats submitted to experimental chronic alcoholism, and to establish a relationship between the extent of the variables and the time of chronic alcohol intoxication, as well as the reversibility of these effects.

MATERIALS AND METHOD

A total of 48 male adult albino rats of the same age and initial body weight were divided into two groups. The experimental group received only sugar cane brandy at 30 Gay Lussac (30 ml alcohol / 100 ml solution) as liquid food for 60, 120 or 180 days, while the control group received tap water. Both groups had free access to solid Purina rat chow. At the end of 180 days of treatment, one experimental group received water for an additional observation period of 60 days. After periods of 60, 120, 180 and 240 days, rats from each group were anesthetized with ether and weight. At that time, samples of the urogenital complex which included the there lobes of the prostate, the coagulating glands, seminal vesicles, urethra, urinary bladder, part of ureters and deferent ducts were collected and weighed. The coagulating glands and seminal vesicles were weight together. The testes were weighted separately.

Data about mean daily solid intake (g), mean daily liquid intake (ml), mean daily weight gain (g), mean urogenital complex weight (g), mean seminal vesicle and coagulating gland weight (g), seminal vesicle weight (g) and mean testis weight (g) were submitted to analysis of variance using a 2x4 factorial system in a fully randomized design. The multiple range test of Tukey was used to compare the means of the groups for each period and polygonal regression analyses were used to determine the effects of period of treatment on each group (BANZATTO & KRONKA, 1989). The level of significance was set at 5%.

RESULTS

The results of the comparison between the groups analyzed and the periods of treatment in terms of mean daily solid food intake (g), mean daily liquid intake (ml), mean daily body weight gain (g), mean urogenital complex weight (g), mean seminal vesicle and coagulating gland weight (g), seminal vesicle weight (g) and testes weight (g), are shown in the Table I.

The Table shows significant differences for the periods of 60, 120, 180 and 240 days of treatment in terms of mean daily solid food intake (g) and mean daily liquid intake (ml). Solid food and liquid intake was lower in the experimental group compared to control. At 240 days, the experimental group, which had been allowed to recover from alcohol intoxication, showed greater daily solid food and liquid intake than the control. Mean daily weight gain (g), mean seminal vesicle and coagulating gland weight and seminal vesicle weight (g) showed significant differences at 60 and 120 days of treatment, with the experimental group showing lower values compared to control. The glandular epithelial tissue of the seminal vesicle has tubular organization, holding viscous secretion. The mucosa is arranged in an intricate system of folds with the epithelium overlaying the lamina propria. The epithelium is pseudostratified and consists of two cell populations, basal and principal cells (Fig. 1a). The experimental group showed a marked decrease in the height of the glandular epithelium cells after 60 and 120 days of treatment (Fig. 1b). Mean daily weight gain (g) showed significant differences at 240 days of treatment too, with the control group showing lower values compared to experimental group. Mean urogenital complex weight (g) was significantly reduced in experimental animals at 60, 120 and 180 days, while testis weight was not significatly reduced with the treatment, although showed values diminushed in all periods of treatment.


Fig. 1. The epithelium of the seminal vesicle. a) control group with 120 days of treatment; b) experimental group with 120 days of treatment show a marked decrease in the height of the glandular epithelium cells. Principal cells (*) and basal cells (arrow). X1000.


Table I. Means of the variables, according to groups (control, C, and experimental, E) and periods of treatment.


VARIABLES GROUPS PERIOD OF TREATMENT (DAYS)
SMD(%)
(g)
         60                 120                 180         240
CV(%)

Daily

E

12.72a(1)

2.13a

3.24a

26.70b

4.43

intake of ration

C

17.45b

17.32b

19.62b

19.34a

25.61

Daily

E

22.42a

24.18a

26.77a

81.04b

7.46

intake of liquid

C

57.02b

53.08b

53.13b

48.43a

13.96

Daily

E

7.66a

9.28a

9.56a

10.21b

0.91

body weight gain

C

9.43b

10.25b

10.15a

10.15a

8.16

Urogenital

E

1.69a

1.76a

2.17a

3.47a

0.89

complex weight

C

3.05b

3.43b

3.09b

3.21a

22.99

Seminal vesicle

E

0.69a

0.82a

1.04a

1.87a

0.56

/coagulating gland weight

C

1.35b

1.42b

1.36a

1.45a

38.08

Seminal vesicle

E

0.49a

0.61a

0.79a

1.36a

0.42

weight

C

1.04b

1.06b

0.96a

1.18a

38.08

Tesis

E

3.91a

3.13a

3.13a

3.58a

1.12

weight

C

3.99a

3.74a

3.56a

3.17a

25.31


Significant Minimum Difference (SMD); Coeficient of variation (CV);
(1) Means followed by the same letter don't differ concerning the group, according the group, according to Tukey multiple range test.

DISCUSSION

In our research, daily solid food intake was lower in the experimental group when compared to the control. The withdrawal of sugar cane brandy at 240 days of treatment led to recovery of mean daily solid food intake. PORTA & GOMEZ-DUMM (1968), RATCLIFFE (1972), SYMONS & MARKS (1975), CÍCERO & BADGER (1977), TESTAR et al. (1986), OLIVEIRA & FERREIRA (1987) and MARTINEZ et al. (1993) observed lower solid food intake in rats treated with alcohol compared to controls. In contrast, WILLIS et al. (1983) did not find differences in diet consumption between rats treated with 5% (v/v) of ethanol controls.

Daily liquid intake by experimental rats was lower compared to control. PORTA & GOMEZ-DUMM (1968), RATCLIFFE (1972), SYMONS & MARKS, TESTAR et al., OLIVEIRA & FERREIRA and MARTINEZ et al. (1993) also observed a decrease in mean daily liquid intake in the ethanol-treated group compared to control.

The rats treated with sugar cane brandy showed a lower mean daily weight gain than controls. There is a phase of adaptation to alcohol which delays weight gain. Previous studies have reported that animals treated with alcohol grow more slowly than isocalorically paired animals (RODRIGO et al., 1971; PIROLA & LIEBER, 1975). RATCLIFFE (1972), SYMONS & MARKS, CÍCERO & BADGER, SHOREY et al. (1977), KLASSEN & PERSAUD, MATSUDA et al. (1979), RIVIER & VALE (1983), TESTAR et al., OLIVEIRA & FERREIRA, SALONEN & HUHTANIEMI (1988) and MARTINEZ et al. (1993) also reported a lower daily weight gain in rats treated with alcohol when compared to control. SALONEN & HUHTANIEMI (1990) reported that animals receiving ethanol did not differ, concerning corporeal weight of isocaloric control. The works of WANG et al. (1976) and SHOREY et al. showed that the malnutrion and the dehydration that occur because of the ethanol exposition have a participation in the growth retard, however, the toxic effect of ethanol persisted, limiting the speed and the extent of the recuperation. Besides, the diluted sugar cane brandy at 30o G.L. (30% v/v) makes possible an extention to clinical application, because it makes the experimental model near to the reality of the chronic alcoholics (MARTINEZ et al., 1995). We considered valid the utilization of the experimental model to the comparison of possible alcoholism effect on the male reproductive system.

In the present study, mean seminal vesicle weight was lower in the experimental group compared to control after 60 and 120 days of treatment. The rats treated with sugar cane brandy showed a recovery mean seminal vesicle weight after 240 days. VAN THIEL et al. (1975), KLASSEN & PERSAUD, SEMCZUK & RZESZOWSKA (1981), RIVIER & VALE, WILLIS et al., ANDERSON et al. (1987), SALONEN & HUHTANIEMI (1988), SALONEN & HUHTANIEMI (1990) and MARTINEZ (1993) also reported lower seminal vesicle weights in rats treated with alcohol. The light microscopy data obtained here for the seminal vesicle agree with those reported by VAN THIEL et al. (1975), KLASSEN & PERSAUD (1978), WILLIS et al. (1983) and ANDERSON et al. (1985). In contraste, VAN THIEL et al. (1979) did not observe differences in absolute seminal vesicle mass between alcohol-fed animals and isocalorically fed controls.

The testis weights of rats treated with sugar cane brandy did not vary during the periods of treatment. The testes of the experimental rats were similar to controls. BADR & BARTKE (1974) did not detect an effect of alcohol on testicular weight. In contrast, VAN THIEL et al. (1975), KLASSEN & PERSAUD, WILLIS et al. (1983), BANNISTER & LOWOSKY (1987), OLIVEIRA & FE-RREIRA and MARTINEZ et al.(1993) observed a significant decrease of testis weight in rats treated with alcohol.

Therefore, we conclude that a deficient diet and the lack of nutrition affect seminal vesicle weight and urogenital complex weight. However, direct effects of alcohol on the gastrointestinal tract cannot be ruled out. The discovery of liver disease in human beings in the presence of an improved diet (LIEBER et al., 1963, 1965) and of cirrhosis of the liver in primates receiving an adequate diet (LIEBER & DECARLI, 1974) indicates that, independent of dietary factores, alcohol «per se» may be considered a direct etiologic agent in the development of liver disease. It was mistakenly believed that the correction or prevention of nutritional deficiences would prevent damage to the liver in alcoholics (LIEBER, 1983). Today, it is accepted, that, in addition to these factors, ethanol acts on the hipothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis.

We observed a recovery of the variables studied after alcohol withdrawal at 240 days of treatment. VAN THIEL et al. (1982) showed that the gonadal dysfunction induced by alcohol was spontaneously reversed in chronic alcoholic men that became abstinent, but only in individuals who did not present gonadal atrophy. Men with testicular atrophy could recover sexual potency, although with loss of fertility. ANDERSON et al. (1985) reported that the weights of the androgen-dependent organs (testes, accessory sex glands and spermatic constituent) were normalized after a period of 10 weeks of abstinence.

RESUMEN: Fueron estudiados los efectos del alcoholismo crónico experimental en el peso de las glándulas sexuales accesorias y en el peso del testículo. Ratas albinas adultas recibieron solamente aguardiente de caña de 30 Gay Lussac (v/v), mientras los controles recibieron agua del grifo. Después de 60, 120, 180 y 240 días de trtamiento las ratas de cada grupo fueron anestesiadas, pesadas y sacrificadas. Fueron registrados: alteraciones en el consumo de ración diario y consumo líquido, aumento de peso medio diario, peso medio de la próstata, de la vesícula seminal, de las glándulas de coagulación y peso del testículo. El alcoholismo crónico experimental afecto al peso tanto de las vesículas seminales, como de los testículos, ocasionando una reducción de ellos, recuperándose éstos órganos 240 días posterior a la suspensión de la administración del alcohol.

PALABRAS CLAVE: 1. Alcohol; 2. Glándulas sexuales accesorias; 3. Testículo.

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Correspondence to:
Prof. Dr. Francisco E. Martinez
Department of Anatomy
Institute of Biosciences,
Paulista State University (UNESP),
18618-000 Botucatu,
São Paulo, BRASIL

Phone (055) 014 821-2121 r. 2040
Fax(055) 014 821-3744

Recibido : 18-02-1996
Aceptado : 04-08-1997

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