Neonatal hypothyroidism-induced changes in rat testis size, dependence on temperature.

OBJECTIVE: Effects of transient neonatal hypothyroidism (HPOT) on adult testis size and serum hormone profiles were evaluated in the Charles foster strain of rats, maintained under the temperature of 21 degrees C (HPOTL) or of 34 degrees C (HPOTH).

METHODS: Hypothyroidism was induced in suckling pups in preweanling period (1-21 days), by administering 0.1% 6-propyl-2-thiouracil in drinking water to mothers. Body mass and testis characteristics, the steroidogenic potential [measured by histochemical localization of 3alpha-, 3beta- and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (HSDHs)] and serum concentrations of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone (T) and corticosterone (Cort) were evaluated on the 35th, 45th, 60th and 90th day of age.

RESULTS: The HPOTH rats showed lower testis masses, while the HPOTL rats showed higher testis masses and lower body masses after 90 days. Histologically, the testes of the HPOTH rats demonstrated increased germ cell degeneration after 35 and 45 days and reduced tubular size, germ cell numbers and sperm density after 90 days. In contrast, the testes of the HPOTL rats showed reduced tubular diameters after 35 and 45 days, and increased tubular diameters, germ cell numbers and sperm density after 90 days. Serum TSH, T3, T4, LH and T concentrations and 3beta- and 17beta-HSDH activities were reduced in both groups of the HPOT rats after 35 and 45 days. Intratubular steroidogenesis and a prominent triangle up5 pathway were also found in the HPOT animals.

CONCLUSION: The temperature has a definite influence on the thyroid hormone action, postnatal growth and function of rat testes.

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