The combined effects of transient neonatal hypothyroidism and neonatal hemicastration were investigated to see whether they were additive. Hypothyroidism was induced in litters of ten male rats for 25 days from the day of birth by administration of 0.1% (w/v) 6-propyl-2-thiouracil in the mother's drinking water; hemicastration was performed on the day of birth. Controls included both normal and sham-operated animals. Numbers of Sertoli cells and round spermatids were quantified at age 135 days using stereological methods. Sham-operation had no effect on testis mass, or numbers of Sertoli or germ cells. Transient neonatal hypothyroidism resulted in an increase in testicular mass of 27% (P <0.05), whereas neonatal hemicastration resulted in a 33% (P <0.05) increase over control; the combination of the two procedures resulted in a 62% (P < 0.05) increase. There were corresponding significant increases in the number of Sertoli cells: 82% with hypothyroidism, 18% with hemicastration and 123% with the combination of the two procedures. Numbers of round spermatids showed similar increases: 59% with hypothyroidism, 45% with hemicastration and 95% with the combination of the two procedures. It is concluded that the effects of the combination of transient neonatal hypothyroidism and hemicastration are additive with respect to testicular mass, and numbers of Sertoli and germ cells.
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