Thymoquinone supplementation ameliorates lead-induced testis function impairment in adult rats

Aymen Mabrouk, Hassen Ben Cheikh
Toxicology and Industrial Health 2016, 32 (6): 1114-21
This study was realized to investigate the possible beneficial effect of thymoquinone (TQ), the major active component of volatile oil of Nigella sativa seeds, against lead (Pb)-induced inhibition of rat testicular functions. Adult rats were randomized into four groups: a control group receiving no treatment; a Pb group exposed to 2000 parts per million (ppm) of Pb acetate in drinking water; a Pb-TQ group co-treated with Pb (as in Pb group) plus TQ (5 mg/kg body weight (b.w.)/day, per orally (p.o.)); and a TQ group receiving TQ (5 mg/kg b.w./day, p.o.). All treatments were for 5 weeks. No significant differences were observed for the body weight gain or for relative testes weight among the four groups of animals. Testicular Pb content significantly increased in metal-intoxicated rats compared with that in control rats. TQ supplementation had no effect on this testicular Pb accumulation. Interestingly, when coadministrated with Pb, TQ significantly improved the low plasma testosterone level and the decreased epididymal sperm count caused by Pb. In conclusion, the results suggest, for the first time, that TQ protects against Pb-induced impairment of testicular steroidogenic and spermatogenic functions. This study will open new perspectives for the clinical use of TQ in Pb intoxication.

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