Experimental and molecular pathology

The ultrastructural effects of di-n-pentyl phthalate on the testis of the mature rat.

PMID 3595805


A sequential morphological study has been carried out to examine the ultrastructural effects of di-n-pentyl phthalate (DPP) on the mature rat testis. A single oral dose of 2.2 g DPP/kg body wt was administered, and testes, perfuse-fixed 3-48 hr after dosing, were examined by transmission electron microscopy. By 3 hr, rarefaction of the basal Sertoli cell cytoplasm was seen and the basal plasma membranes separating adjacent Sertoli cells were thrown into a series of convoluted profiles with the appearance of interdigitating cell processes. The subjacent ectoplasmic specializations that normally face these membranes were disrupted, and by 12 hr the inter-Sertoli junctions showed numerous membrane discontinuities. The lateral processes of Sertoli cell cytoplasm, which separate germ cells, showed retraction and fragmentation, resulting in direct contact between adjacent germ cells or the isolation of germ cells unapposed by Sertoli cell plasma membrane. In addition, the ectoplasmic specializations associated with Sertoli-spermatid and Sertoli-pachytene spermatocyte junctions were often disrupted or absent. The mitochondria in the Sertoli cells were enlarged and, in some tubules, increased in number. The changes seen were restricted to tubules in the successive stages XI-XIV, I, and II of the spermatogenic cycle. Elongating spermatids (steps 12-15) showed cytoplasmic condensation and vacuolation by 12 hr and were necrotic by 24 hr. A small proportion of zygotene and early pachytene spermatocytes showed necrosis by 24 hr after dosing. By 48 hr, the cytoplasmic rarefaction and convoluted plasma membranes had regressed and ectroplasmic specializations had reformed along Sertoli-Sertoli junctions.

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