Cadmium induced testicular damage has been investigated in α-tocopherol (Vitamin E) pretreated and non-pretreated male rats exposed to a single sub-lethal dose of cadmium in form of CdCl2. Graded doses of vitamin E (75, 150, and 750 mg kg-1 body wt.) were administered daily to rats in separate groups by gavage for 4 weeks while 3 mg Cd kg-1 body wt was administered subcutaneously, 24 hr to the termination of the study. Relative to the Cd - free control rats, cadmium significantly (P < 0.05) increased total cholesterol (CHL) levels in the testes and prostate but did not change its level in plasma. It also decreased TPL/CHL and phosphatidylcholine (PC) / phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) ratios in testes and increased sphingomyeline (SPM) / phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) ratios in the testes. However, cadmium administration increased the PC/PE and SPM/PE ratio but reduced the TPL/CHL ratio in the prostate. It appears that increased cholesterol levels within the testes and prostate and attendant membrane rigidity may be one mechanism by which cadmium causes damage to the testes and prostate. It also appears that low - medium doses of α-tocopherol can effectively protect the testes and prostate against Cd - induced damage.
Key words: Cadmium, α-tocopherol, cholesterol, phospholipids, rat.
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