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Fertility in male rats: Disentangling adverse effects of arsenic compounds

Arsenic impairs male reproductive functions. However, it is not clear whether different arsenic compounds similarly affect fertility. In this study, we compared the impact of sodium arsenite and arsenate on sperm quality and fertility. After 56 d exposure, male Wistar rats were mated and pregnant females were evaluated by fertility indexes. Clearly, exposure to 10 mg/L arsenite reduced daily sperm production via H 2 O 2 overproduction and germ cells loss. Animals from this group also showed a decrease in epididymal sperm counts and percentage of sperm with intact membranes. Moreover, they presented low fertility potential and high preimplantation loss. In contrast, 10 mg/L arsenate caused oxidative stress in testis, mineral imbalance in epididymis, and sperm membranes damage, with no effects on fertility. Both arsenic compounds at 0.01 mg/L altered reproductive parameters. We concluded that arsenite is more harmful than arsenate to sperm quality and male fertility, with negative influences in early pregnancy.

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