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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23-34

The toxic effect of phthalate on testes of albino rats and the possible protective role of curcumin

Department of Anatomy and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Alexandria, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Rasha M.A. Salama
MSc, 20 Shady Abd-El Salam from Khaled Ebn El Waleed, Alexandria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.7123/01.MMJ.0000429688.04299.73

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The aim of this study was to determine the toxic effect of di-n-butylphthalate (DBP) on the testes of developing and adult albino rats and to establish the possible protective role of curcumin.


DBP is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that disrupts the growth of normal male reproductive organs of adult and developing rats after prenatal exposure.


The rats used in this study received DBP alone as well as in combination with curcumin and were subjected to biochemical (measuring the level of testosterone), histological, immunohistochemical, and morphometric (analysis of the mean diameter of the seminiferous tubules) studies.


Administration of DBP to rats at a dose of 500 mg/kg dissolved in 1 ml/kg corn oil by daily gavage significantly reduced (P<0.001) the serum levels of testosterone in developing and adult rats compared with control rats. DBP-treated rats showed marked atrophy of the seminiferous tubules with apoptosis, exfoliation, and abnormal regeneration of the spermatocytes, with a highly significant decrease (P<0.001) in the mean diameter of the seminiferous tubules compared with that in the control and combined DBP and curcumin groups. DBP-induced reproductive toxicity was reversed by the addition of curcumin.


Exposure to DBP led to more pronounced testicular damage and impaired spermatogenesis in prepubertal and adult male rats. These changes can be prevented by addition of curcumin, which induced restoration of spermatogenesis.

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