Long term evaluation of morphometric and ultrastructural changes of testes of alloxan-induced diabetic rats
MetadataShow full item record
PURPOSE: To evaluate in a long term the morphometric and ultrastructural changes in seminiferous tubules (ST) of normal and diabetic rats, and to correlate any changes with animal age and diabetes duration. METHODS: Sixty male Wistar rats, three months-old, were randomly divided into two groups: 30 non-diabetic controls (N) and 30 alloxan untreated diabetic (D). After one, six and 12 months of follow-up or diabetes induction rats were sacrificed and the testes examined. Morphometric measures of the ST were performed by digital imaging analysis. ST ultrastructure was analyzed by transmission electron microscopy. RESULTS: Sustained hyperglycemic state was observed in all diabetic rats throughout the study. Serum testosterone was also significantly decreased in these animals. The diameter, total area, epithelium area and epithelium thickness of ST were lower and tubular density was higher in diabetic animals. Diabetic rats also showed ultrastructural changes compromising the whole testis including germ-, Sertoli-, and Leydig cells, and also the mithocondria and cellular nuclei. Most frequent of these consisted of vacuolization and/or accumulation of lipid droplets and electron dense dark material in cell cytoplasm and/or in membranes, cellular degeneration, and apoptosis. Non-diabetic control rats also showed testicular lesions that resemble to the diabetic lesions, although much less severe and with later onset in life of these animals. CONCLUSION: Histopathological changes observed in testes of normal and diabetic rats are closely related to the animal age and/or duration of the hyperglycemic state, being progressively more severe in animals sacrificed belatedly. These changes may play an important role in male infertility observed in diabetic subjects.