The relation of opium addiction and reproductive toxicity in male rats: a histological and hormonal study

Abstract

Background and objective: Consuming of opium is a new phenomenon that could be significantly observed in some regions of Iraqi Kurdistan region, especially in districts near to Iran borders. Long term consumption of opioids affects body homeostasis. This study is designed to determine the effects of opium on reproductive histological and hormonal parameters in addition to the study of qualitative sperm abnormalities in experimental rats. Methods: The rats of the experiment were divided into three groups: Control group and the two experimental groups which were treated with two different concentrations of opium (25 and 50 mg/kg/day) for 7 days. After the decided period, the rats were dissected. Serum testosterone and sperm quality was determined and histological sections were prepared from the testis. Results: Testosterone significantly reduced in opium treated rats in both low and high doses. The histological sections of testis showed testicular degeneration in the seminiferous tubules, while higher dose showed loss of normal architecture of seminiferous tubules, in addition to present of giant cell in lumen of tubules. Several types of sperm abnormalities were observed, but the head-neck connection abnormality was the dominant. Conclusion: This finding suggests that opium addiction can cause significant decrease in the male sexual hormone secretion and it also leads to the alteration in the sperms and testis structure. This may lead to sexual suppression and infertility which needs further investigations.