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Toxicological effects of furan on the reproductive system of male rats: An “in vitro” and “in vivo"-based endocrinological and spermatogonial study

Rehman, Humaira, Jahan, Sarwat, Ullah, Imdad, Winberg, Svante
Chemosphere 2019 v.230 pp. 327-336
chemical industry, cholesterol, dose response, enzyme activity, epididymis, furans, heat treatment, histopathology, in vitro studies, in vivo studies, lipid composition, low density lipoprotein, males, oxidative stress, protein content, rats, sperm motility, spermatozoa, subchronic exposure, testes, testosterone, tissues, toxic substances, toxicity, triacylglycerols, viability
Furan is a colorless toxic chemical produced in various food items during heat processing and in chemical industries. Both in vitro and in vivo studies have reported that it induces oxidative stress and endocrine disruption; however, limited data are available regarding the effects of furan on the reproduction of mammals. In the present study, an in vitro experiment was designed to investigate the direct effects of furan exposure on oxidative stress and testosterone concentration in rat testicular tissue. Furan not only generated high oxidative stress but also decreased antioxidant enzyme activity in the testicular tissue. On the basis of in vitro study results, an in vivo sub-chronic exposure study was performed. Male rats were orally exposed to different concentrations of furan (0, 5, 10, 20, and 40 mg kg−1). An increase (P < 0.05) of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and of the lipid profile (cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL) in higher dose treatment groups of furan was observed, while total protein content and antioxidant enzyme activity were considerably decreased after furan exposure. Also, plasma and intratesticular testosterone concentrations were reduced in high-dose treatment groups. Sperm parameters such as sperm viability, sperm count, and sperm motility showed a decrease (P < 0.05) in a dose-dependent manner. Histopathological findings revealed significant alterations in testis and epididymis tissues. These results confirm that furan can induce toxic effects on the reproductive system of male rats.