We have previously demonstrated that the sub-chronic administration of low doses of Toc or α-Toc, glyphosate and zineb to rats (i.p. 1/250 LD50, three times a week for 5 weeks) provoked severe oxidative stress (OS) in testicles. These effects were also reflected in plasma. Lipoic acid (LA) and α-tocopherol are considered as antioxidants due to their ability to neutralize reactive oxygenated species (ROS) and reset endogenous antioxidant levels. To investigate the possible protective effect on reproductive function, LA and Toc (i.p. 25, 50 and 100mg/kg) were administered simultaneously with the pesticide mixture (PM) for 5 weeks. Both drugs prevented OS and the damage to proteins and lipids caused by PM in a dose-dependent manner. The PM-induced increase levels of prostaglandins E2 and F2α was completely restored by LA but not by Toc. Similarly, only LA was able to restore the inhibition of testosterone production, the decrease of 3β- and 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases activities, and the elevation of gonatropins (FSH and LH) levels produced by PM. Furthermore, LA was more efficient than Toc in normalizing the histological alterations produced by PM administration, suggesting that pesticides act though other mechanisms that generate oxidative stress. In our experimental model LA displayed a higher protective role against pesticide-induced damage than that observed by Toc administration. Our results suggest that LA administration is a promising therapeutic strategy for coping with disorders suspected to be caused by OS generators - such as pesticides - in male reproductive system.
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