Effect of Zinc on Spermatogenesis and Sperm Chromatin Condensation in Bleomycin, Etoposide, Cisplatin Treated Rats

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Anatomical Science, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

2 Department of Anatomical Science, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran;Department of Anatomical Science, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


The incidence rate of testicular cancer among young males is high. Co-administration of bleomycin, etoposide and cisplatin (BEP) has increased survival rate of patients with testicular cancer. Although BEP is one of the most effective treatment for testicular cancer, but it severely affects the reproductive system that ultimately leads to infertility. In addition to its antioxidant activity, zinc has an important role in progression of spermiogenesis. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of zinc on sperm parameters, chromatin condensation and testicular structure after BEP treatment.
Materials and Methods
In this experimental study, 40 male rats were divided into 4 groups (control, BEP, BEP+ zinc and zinc) and examined for 2 spermatogenesis periods (i.e. 18 weeks). The rats in BEP and BEP+ zinc group were treated with BEP at appropriate doses (0.75, 7.5, and 1.5 mg/kg) for three cycles of three weeks. Zinc at a dose of 10 mg/kg/day was administered to BEP+ zinc and zinc groups. After 18 weeks, we assessed sperm parameters, and excessive histone in sperm chromatin using aniline blue staining, as well as testicular structure and germ line cells using periodic acid-Schiff staining.
After BEP treatment, significant decreases were observed in normal sperm morphology, motility, and concentration, as well as alterations in rat sperm chromatin condensation and testicular tissue (P < 0.001). Furthermore, after zinc consumption for 9 weeks, we observed significant improvements of sperm parameters and chromatin condensation as well as a significant retrieval of spermatogonia, leydig cells and tubular architecture (P < 0.05).
Zinc administration after chemotherapy with BEP in testicular cancer might be potentially useful in declining the off target consequence associated with oxidative stress.