Vanadium has been recognized as industrial hazards that adversely affect male reproductive systems of humans and animals. However, less information is available concerning the underlying mechanism in the pathogenesis of male reproductive dysfunction. The present study investigated the possible involvement of oxidative stress to induce oxidative deterioration of testicular functions in adult rats. The results of in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrate that vanadium treatment resulted in a significant dose- and time-dependent increase in the testicular lipid peroxidation, marked inhibition in the level of superoxide dismutase and catalase activities, decreased sperm counts, and substantially inhibited the activities of Delta(5)3beta- and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase as well as serum testosterone level. Histopathological examination revealed inhibition of spermatogenesis and the preferential loss of maturing and elongated spermatids along with increased percent of abnormal sperm. Taken together, the results suggest that an increase in free radical formation relative to loss of antioxidant defense system during vanadium exposure may render testis more susceptible to oxidative damage leading to their functional inactivation. Thus the toxic effects of vanadium are cumulative and that vanadium produced damages in testes are dose- and time-dependent.