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Prenatal exposure to aflatoxin B1: developmental, behavioral, and reproductive alterations in male rats

Supriya, Ch., Reddy, P. Sreenivasula
Die Naturwissenschaften 2015 v.102 no.5-6 pp. 26
adulthood, aflatoxin B1, biosynthesis, birth weight, blood serum, dose response, embryogenesis, epididymis, follicle-stimulating hormone, geotaxis, hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases, litter size, liver, luteinizing hormone, males, neonatal development, neonates, parturition, pregnancy, pups, rats, regulatory proteins, reproductive performance, seminal vesicles, sex ratio, spermatogenesis, spermatozoa, steroidogenesis, survival rate, testes, testosterone
Previous studies have shown that aflatoxin B1 (AfB1) inhibits androgen biosynthesis as a result of its ability to form a high-affinity complex with the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein. The results of the present study demonstrate the postnatal effects of in utero exposure to AfB1 in the rat. Pregnant Wistar rats were given 10, 20, or 50 μg AfB1/kg body weight daily from gestation day (GD) 12 to GD 19. At parturition, newborns were observed for clinical signs and survival. All animals were born alive and initially appeared to be active. Male pups from control and AfB1-exposed animals were weaned and maintained up to postnatal day (PD) 100. Litter size, birth weight, sex ratio, survival rate, and crown–rump length of the pups were significantly decreased in AfB1-exposed rats when compared to controls. Elapsed time (days) for testes to descend into the scrotal sac was significantly delayed in experimental pups when compared to control pups. Behavioral observations such as cliff avoidance, negative geotaxis, surface rightening activity, ascending wire mesh, open field behavior, and exploratory and locomotory activities were significantly impaired in experimental pups. Body weights and the indices of testis, cauda epididymis, prostate, seminal vesicles, and liver were significantly reduced on PD 100 in male rats exposed to AfB1 during embryonic development when compared with controls. Significant reduction in the testicular daily sperm production, epididymal sperm count, and number of viable, motile, and hypo-osmotic tail coiled sperm was observed in experimental rats. The levels of serum testosterone and activity levels of testicular hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases were significantly decreased in a dose-dependent manner with a significant increase in the serum follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone in experimental rats. Deterioration in the testicular and cauda epididymal architecture was observed in experimental rats. The results of fertility studies revealed a significant decrease in the mating index in experimental rats with an increase in the pre- and post-implantation losses in rats mated with prenatal AfB1-exposed males, indicating poor male reproductive performance. These results indicate that in utero exposure to AfB1 severely compromised postnatal development of neonatal rats, and caused a delay in testes descent and reduction in steroidogenesis and spermatogenesis that were accomplished by suppressed reproduction at adulthood.