Morphological Picture of the Testes of Breeding Rams After Experimental Load with Copper-Containing Industrial Emissions

Veterinarni Medicina 40, 1995, 105-110

The aim of this work was to experimentally evaluate the effect of feeding industrial emissions from a copper-producing plant upon Cu accumulation in the testes of six Merino breeding rams. In the experimental animals (4) the daily copper intake from the exhalations was 15 mg/kg l.w. Administration was continued until the haemolytic crisis appeared (on day 42 in one animal and on day 50 of the experiment in the other animals). The tissue of the testes was examined by both optic and electron microscopy. The patho-anatomical picture of the organs was characterized by general icterus which was also evident on the sectional surfaces of the testes. In the right and left testis of the experimental animals Cu levels were found that were twice higher than those of the controls (Tab. IV). The toxic effect of copper became evident by the destruction of all developmental stages of germinative cells mainly by that the integrity of the cell membranes was damaged thus resulting in a gradual release of the germinative cells, into the tubular lumen. In extreme cases the tubules were lined with nuclei only and the residual cytoplasm of Sertoli cells (Sertoli cells - only syndrome). Ruptures of the cytoplasmic membranes were also observed on the Leydig cells. Thickening of the tubular lamina propria was caused by homogenization and enormous invagination of the lamellar layer, which was rather predominant on the periphery of the organ (Fig. 2). In the deeper layers of the testes reduction of the cellular and non-cellular layers of the tubular walls occurred which frequently resulted in the rupture of the basement membrane. In this way spermatogonia and Sertoli cells became parts of the interstitium. In addition to interstitial cells the intertubular space also contained erythrocytes that floated through the damaged wall of the blood capillaries. The finding proves heavy injury to the haemotesticular barrier with consequent stagnation of spermiogenesis up to gradual involution of the tubules. The injuries to the germinative epithelium found are of an irreversible nature and can participate to an important extent in the decrease in the reproduction percentage of sheep on the farm in the vicinity of the copper-producing plant

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