Heating the testes of anaesthetized adult rats to 43 degrees C for 30 min in a waterbath was followed by a large decrease in testis and epididymis mass and number of spermatozoa 35 days later. These parameters had recovered to some extent, but not completely, by days 70 and 97 after heating, but had decreased again in rats examined on day 182. There were no consistent effects of heating on androgen status, as determined by the concentrations of testosterone in blood and testis fluids, or by seminal vesicle mass, and interstitial fluid volume was increased in the heated testes. Treatment of rats with an implant of a GnRH agonist and daily injections of an anti-androgen for 14 days (sufficient in itself to cause large temporary decreases in tissue mass, number of spermatozoa and androgen status) did not reduce the initial decrease in testis mass or number of spermatozoa seen after heating, but reduced the later decreases in mass and number of spermatozoa significantly. These findings indicate that, as well as causing damage to spermatocytes and spermatids, as previously reported, heating also reduces the ability of spermatogonia to repopulate the seminiferous tubules at longer intervals after heating. Furthermore, it appears that this effect on the spermatogonia can be reduced by treating the animals with a GnRH agonist and anti-androgen, a treatment similar to that shown by other authors to improve recovery of the testis from irradiation or drug treatment.
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