Introduction: Triclosan (TCS) is an antimicrobial agent, widely incorporated in a variety of personal care products, household items, medical devices, and clinical settings. Recently, concern has been raised over TCS’s potential for endocrine and reproductive disruption.
Aim: The study aimed to elucidate the impact of TCS on the histological structure of the seminiferous tubules (STs) in adult male albino rats, as well as the possible protective role of pomegranate juice (PJ) coadministration.
Materials and methods: A total of 32 adult male albino rats (140–160 g) were randomly categorized into four equal groups. Group I (the control group): rats in this group received PBS (1 ml/kg/day) orally. Group II: rats in this group received PJ orally at a dose of 10 ml/kg/day. Group III: rats in this group received TCS orally at a dose of 20 mg/kg/day. Group IV: rats in this group received TCS at the same dose as group III in conjunction with PJ daily. The experiment continued for 60 days. At the end of the experiment, blood samples were collected from the retro-orbital venous plexus of all rats for estimation of serum testosterone level. The animals were then euthanized. The testes of all rats were harvested for both light and transmission electron microscopic examination of the STs. The germinal epithelial height and the number of germ cells/high-power field (HPF) were estimated morphometrically in H&E-stained sections and statistically analyzed.
Results: The study revealed that PJ administration was safe as it did not alter serum testosterone levels as compared with the control group. Histologically, the STs of these animals exhibited normal appearance similar to that of the control group. TCS administration was associated with significantly lowered serum testosterone levels as compared with the control group. Histologically, the STs were lined with relatively few spermatogenic cells with deeply stained nuclei. Cytoplasmic vacuolation of the lining cells and exfoliation of germ cells in the tubular lumina were seen as well. Ultrastructurally, vacuolar degenerative changes involving all types of spermatogenic cells as well as Sertoli cells were revealed. Moreover, the germinal epithelial height and the number of germ cells/HPF were significantly reduced compared with the control group. Coadministration of PJ with TCS resulted in a significant increase in serum testosterone level as compared with the TCS group. Histologically, most of the STs retained normal appearance and epithelial stratification. Only some tubules revealed vacuolation of germ cells in the basal compartment with deeply stained nuclei. Mild ultrastructural alterations of germ cells were evidenced as well. These results were confirmed histomorphometrically by the significant increase in the germinal epithelial height and number of germ cells/HPF as compared with the TCS group.
Conclusion: The study clearly indicates that TCS has the potential to adversely impact the testicular structure and function, and that PJ is able to ameliorate such adverse effects.