Testicular toxicity in cannabis extract treated mice: association with oxidative stress and role of antioxidant enzyme systems

Toxicol Ind Health. 2010 Feb;26(1):11-23. doi: 10.1177/0748233709354553. Epub 2009 Nov 26.


Intraperitoneal injection of cannabis extract at low doses (total doses ranging from 40 mg to 60 mg per mouse) induced adverse effect on testes and oxidative stress. At low doses, there was a significant increase in lipid peroxidation and decrease in testicular lipid content, but the effects were significantly less at higher doses and at the withdrawal of cannabis treatment (recovery dose). There was a marked decrease in antioxidant enzyme profiles (superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase) and glutathione content at low doses, but these effects were higher at higher dose and at withdrawal of the treatment (recovery effect). Histology revealed significant shrinkage of tubular diameter and detrimental changes in seminiferous epithelium of testis with resulting lowered serum testosterone and pituitary gonadotropins (follicular stimulating [FSH] and luteinizing hormones [LH]) levels at low doses. But at higher doses and particularly at withdrawal of the treatment, regression of various germ cell layers of testes through the revival of testosterone hormone and pituitary gonadotropins (FSH and LH) were observed, indicating that recovery effects on testes became operative possibly through the corrective measure of endogenous testicular antioxidant enzymes profiles and pituitary gonadotropins hormones feedback mechanisms.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cannabis / toxicity*
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glutathione / blood
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Gonadotropins, Pituitary / metabolism
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Testis / drug effects*
  • Testis / enzymology
  • Testis / pathology
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Gonadotropins, Pituitary
  • Plant Extracts
  • Testosterone
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Catalase
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione