This study was undertaken to investigate whether treatment with vitamin E (VE) and/or vitamin C (VC) protects rat sperm by inhibiting reactive oxygen species generation induced by lead (Pb) exposure. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to the following five groups: vitamin-unsupplemented; 150 mg VE/kg chow supplemented; 300 mg VE/kg chow supplemented; 500 mg VC/l drinking water supplemented and 150 mg VE/kg chow+500 mg VC/l drinking water supplemented group. Rats in each group were divided into Pb-unexposed and Pb-exposed subgroups, received weekly intraperitoneal injection of 10 mg sodium acetate or 10 mg Pb acetate/kg for 6 weeks, respectively. The blood and sperm Pb levels were analyzed by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Chemiluminescence was measured to evaluate the generation of sperm reactive oxygen species (ROS). Motility and sperm-oocyte penetration rate (SOPR) were measured. In Pb-unexposed rats, epididymal sperm counts, motility, ROS, and SOPR were not different in the five supplemented groups. Lead exposure might decrease the defense capacity of sperm to the oxidative stress and therefore elevate the ROS generation, reduce sperm motility, and reduce SOPR. Supplementation with VE and/or VC reduced ROS generation, prevented loss of motility and capacity of oocyte penetration in Pb-exposed rats. This study suggests that supplementation with VE and/or VC inhibits Pb-related ROS generation, protects spermatozoa from loss of motility and oocyte penetration capability. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes