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The composition of epididymal plasma has been described in the boar (Mann, 1964; Crabo, 1965), the bull (Crabo, 1965; Wales, Wallace & White, 1966), the rabbit (Jones & Glover, 1973) and the ram (Scott, Wales, Wallace & White, 1963). In the rat, information on the subject is limited to measurements of ion concentrations (Levine & Marsh, 1971) in fluid collected by micropuncture techniques and to scattered values obtained from post-mortem material (Conchie, Findlay & Levvy, 1959; Dawson & Rowlands, 1959; Marquis & Fritz, 1965; Brooks, Hamilton & Mallek, 1974). The composition of this fluid in any species is important in relation to sperm survival and would seem to be of particular interest in rodents due to its relatively viscous consistency. It would also seem preferable to obtain such fluid from living animals, and

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The relationship between the antifertility effect of α-chlorohydrin and changes in composition of luminal plasma from the cauda epididymidis of rats and rabbits has been investigated.

At each dose regimen studied, the fertilizing capacity of rats treated with α-chlorohydrin was reduced to zero. The levels of sodium, potassium, glycerylphosphorylcholine (GPC), acid phosphatase and alkaline phosphatase in epididymal plasma were not markedly affected by drug treatment. The most noticeable change was a considerable increase in the concentration of lactic dehydrogenase (LDH) at all dose levels and of glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase (GOT) after 7 days of treatment with 8 and 16 mg/kg. The effect of cold shock on the composition of epididymal plasma showed that LDH and GOT are, at least in part, derived from spermatozoa.

In contrast, α-chlorohydrin did not have an antifertility action in the rabbit, and the only notable change in the composition of epididymal plasma was an increase in the level of GPC.

These results provide evidence that, in the rat, α-chlorohydrin or a metabolite primarily exerts its antifertility effect by a direct action on the spermatozoa, whilst in the rabbit a barrier may exist to the entrance of the drug into the lumen of the epididymal duct.

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D. J. Back, T. D. Glover, J. C. Shenton, and Gillian P. Boyd

Summary. Male rats were treated with 5 or 20 mg cyproterone acetate/kg/day or 20 mg cyproterone/rat/day for 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 weeks. There was some reduction in fertility with both compounds, the maximum effect occurring after 5 weeks with the higher dose of cyproterone acetate and after 2 weeks with cyproterone. A significant increase in testosterone levels was found after treatment with the high dose of cyproterone acetate by 1 week and with cyproterone by 2 weeks. Dose-dependent atrophy of the seminal vesicles occurred after treatment with cyproterone acetate; with cyproterone atrophy occurred at 1 and 2 weeks but approximated to control values at 3, 4 and 5 weeks. Epididymal weights were reduced with the high dose of cyproterone acetate but the low dose had little effect. Reduction in the weight of the testes was only observed after 5 weeks of treatment with the high dose of cyproterone acetate. Since plasma testosterone levels were not depressed below normal values, accessory sex organ regression evidently resulted from the local antiandrogenic action of the drugs.

There was some indication of interference with the secretory and absorptive activity of the lining cells of the epididymis but in general treatment with either steroid caused only relatively small and variable changes in the composition of epididymal plasma.