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Testosterone production and spermatogenic damage induced by organophosphorate pesticides


1. Program of Physiology and Biophysics. ICBM. Faculty of Medicine. University of Chile.
2. Faculty of Veterinary and Pecuary Sciences. University of Chile.
3. Program of Anatomy and Developmental Biology. ICBM. Faculty of Medicine. University of Chile.
4. Centre de Biotecnologia Molecular (CEBIM) Departament d’Enginyeria Química. EUETIB. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Comte d’Urgell 187. Barcelona. Spain.
Address correspondence to: Dr. Héctor R. Contreras M. Program of Physiology and Biophysics. Institute of Biomedical Sciences. Faculty of Medicine. University of Chile. P.O.Box 70005. Postal Code 6530499. Santiago, CHILE. Fax: (+56-2) 777 6916. E-mail:

BIOCELL 2006, 30(3), 423-429.


Parathion® is an organophosphorate pesticide amply used in agriculture. Many alterations induced by organophosphorate pesticides have been described, such as: cytogenetic alterations in germinal cells, oligozoospermia and teratozoospermia in the mouse. The effect of Parathion®, both pure (PP) and commercial (PC), on mouse interstitial cell testosterone production was evaluated in vivo and in vitro. Male mice were intraperitoneally injected with a single dose of 1/3 LD50 of Parathion®, both PP and PC. The animals were sacrificed at 1, 8 and 40 days post injection to evaluate the impact of disrupting testosterone production on spermatogonia, spermatocytes and elongated spermatids. The plasma testosterone was assayed by standard radioimmunoanalysis. The same method was used to assay testosterone in the culture medium of interstitial cells obtained from the control and Parathion® treated animals at the same time intervals. Sperm count, sperm teratozoospermia and tubular blockage were analyzed for an appraisal of spermatogenesis. Increase in the teratozoospermia and tubular blockage was detected in the PP and PC group at 8 and 40 days post injection. Plasma testosterone levels drop significantly at 8 days and recovered slowly at 40 days only in PP animals as detected in vivo, implying interference of testicular steroidogenesis due to the toxicant. Recuperation of normality occurs at long time intervals. In conclusion, Parathion® disturbs the synthesis of testosterone in mice affecting qualitatively the spermatogenesis


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CONTRERAS, H., PAREDES, V., URQUIETA, B., VALLE, L. D., BUSTOS-OBREGÓN, E. (2006). Testosterone production and spermatogenic damage induced by organophosphorate pesticides. BIOCELL, 30(3), 423–429.


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