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R Sarkar, KP Mohanakumar and M Chowdhury

The effects of chronic sub-lethal doses (7-14 mg kg-1 a day for 15 days) of quinalphos were evaluated in adult male rats for changes in testicular morphology, circulatory concentrations of hormones (LH, FSH, prolactin and testosterone), activities of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) as well as metabolism of biogenic amines (dopamine, noradrenaline and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)) in the hypothalamus and pituitary. Hormones were assayed by radioimmunoassay or chemiluminescent immunoassay (testosterone). The enzymes were estimated after spectrophotometry and the biogenic amines by HPLC-electrochemistry. Sub-lethal chronic administration of quinalphos resulted in: decreased testicular mass and AChE activity in central as well as peripheral organs; increased serum LH, FSH, prolactin and testosterone concentrations; decreased pituitary or increased testicular ACE activity; severe disruption of spermatogenesis with increasing doses of pesticide; and no significant effects on dopamine, noradrenaline or 5-HT concentrations in the hypothalamus or pituitary. Administration of oestradiol (50 micrograms per rat a day) during pesticide treatment resulted in: a significant decrease in the mass of the testis and accessory sex organs; decreases in serum LH, FSH, testosterone concentrations; an increase in prolactin concentration; and a decrease in dopamine or an increase in noradrenaline and 5-HT in the hypothalamus or pituitary. Oestradiol had a marked effect: in pesticide-treated animals, the pesticide effects were significantly reversed. This indicates that in pesticide toxicity, the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis is operational. Since many of the observed pesticide effects could be inhibited by oestradiol, it is suggested that the pesticide acts directly on the gonadotrophins. In conclusion, quinalphos decreases fertility in adult male rats by affecting the pituitary gonadotrophins.

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G. Singh, M. M. Singh, S. C. Maitra, W. Elger, V. Kalra, S. N. Upadhyay, S. R. Chowdhury and V. P. Kamboj

Summary. RU-38486 or ZK-98734 treatment (3 mg/day, s.c.) to intact or hysterectomized adult female rats on Days 5–7 post coitum induced changes characteristic of luteolysis. Ultrastructurally, the luteal cells exhibited an extensive vacuolization of the cytoplasm and perinuclear areas, degeneration of mitochondrial cristae, massive accumulation of lipid droplets, increase in number of lysosome like granules and heterochromatinization of the nucleus. In general, RU-38486 induced more marked degeneration of the luteal cells than did ZK-98734. There was also a significant decrease in peripheral plasma progesterone concentrations in treated rats. We suggest that these antiprogestagens act via inhibition of luteal function in addition to their antagonism at the uterine progesterone receptor level.

Keywords: antiprogestagens; ultrastructure; corpora lutea; progesterone; rat

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Imran Khan, Kyeong-Lim Lee, Lianguang Xu, Ayman Mesalam, M M R Chowdhury, Myeong-Don Joo, Ihsan-ul-Haq, Bushra Mirza and Il-Keun Kong

Heat stress has large effects on reproduction including conception rate in cattle. In this study, we examined the effects of coagulansin-A (coa-A), a steroidal lactone, on acquired thermo tolerance during in vitro production of bovine embryos. Oocytes were incubated in in vitro maturation (IVM) media with or without coa-A at two different temperatures, 40.5˚C and 42˚C, for 20 h. The treatment of coa-A significantly improved blastocyst development only at 40.5˚C (P < 0.05). Interestingly, immunofluorescence analysis demonstrated that coa-A induced heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K), but significantly attenuated nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2). To determine the expression patterns of related genes at the transcription level, qRT-PCR was performed. Expression of HSP70 and PI3K was elevated, whereas expression of NF-κB, COX2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) was significantly (P < 0.05) downregulated in the coa-A-treated group compared with the control group. Moreover, pro-apoptotic genes were downregulated, and antiapoptic genes were upregulated in the coa-A group. We also counted the total cell number and apoptotic nuclei at the blastocyst and found that more cell numbers (143.1 ± 1.5) and less apoptotic damages (6.4 ± 0.5) in the coa-A treatment group comparing to control group (131.4 ± 2.0 and 10.8 ± 0.5), indicating the enhanced embryo quality. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that the coa-A not only improved the blastocyst development in vitro but also increased their resistance to heat stress condition through induction of HSP70/PI3K.