Role of L-carnitine in the prevention of seminiferous tubules damage induced by gamma radiation: a light and electron microscopic study

Topçu Tarladaçalışır Y., KANTER M., Uzal C.

ARCHIVES OF TOXICOLOGY, vol.83, no.8, pp.735-746, 2009 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 83 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00204-008-0382-y
  • Title of Journal : ARCHIVES OF TOXICOLOGY
  • Page Numbers: pp.735-746


The present study, we hypothesized that l-carnitine can minimize germ-cell depletion and morphological features of late cell damage in the rat testis following gamma (gamma)-irradiation. Wistar albino male rats were divided into three groups. Control group received physiological saline 0.2 ml intraperitoneally (i.p.), as placebo. Radiation group received scrotal gamma-irradiation of 10 Gy as a single dose plus physiological saline. Radiation + l-carnitine group received scrotal gamma-irradiation plus 200 mg/kg i.p. l-carnitine. l-carnitine starting 1 day before irradiation and 21 days (three times per week) after irradiation. Testis samples of the all groups were taken at day 21, 44 and 70 post-irradiation. All samples were processed at the light and electron microscopic levels. Morphologically, examination of gamma-irradiated testis revealed presence of marked disorganization and depletion of germ cells, arrest of spermatogenesis, formation of multinucleated giant cells, and vacuolization in the germinal epithelium. The type and extent of these changes varied at different post-treatment intervals. The damage was evident at the 21st day and reached maximum level by the 44th day. By day 44 post-irradiation, the changes were most advanced, and were associated with atrophied seminiferous tubules without germ cells, the increase in the number and size of vacuolizations in germinal epithelium, and the absent multinucleated giant cells due to spermatids had completely disappeared. The increase in nucleus invaginations, the dilatation of smooth endoplasmic reticulum cysternas and the increase in the number and size of lipid droplets in the Sertoli cells were determined at the electron microscopic level. In conclusion, l-carnitine supplementation during the radiotherapy would be effective in protecting against radiation-induced damages in rat testis, and thereby may improve the quality of patient's life after the therapy.