Glyphosate (GLP) is a broad-spectrum herbicide that is frequently used in crop production, but its residues remain in foodstuffs. This, in turn, has led to potential adverse effects on both human and animal health. Recent studies emphasized that GLP induces teratogenic effects and reproductive disorders, but its mechanism of toxicity is highly debated. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is well known for its potent antioxidant capacity in addition to anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties. Therefore, our study aimed to investigate the reproductive toxicity of GLP in mature rats and evaluate the possible ameliorative effect of NAC against this toxicity. To this end, 30 adult male rats were assigned into three groups (10 rats per group) as follows: Group I, negative control; group II, GLP-exposed; 375 mg/kg GLP, orally; group III, NAC-cotreated, 160 mg/kg NAC 1 h before GLP, plus GLP, 375 mg/kg orally for 6 weeks. At the end of the experiment, the testicles were collected for semen analysis and biochemical, histopathological, and immunohistochemical studies. GLP-exposed rats exhibited disturbances in seminal parameters and a significant increase in malondialdehyde levels and expression of apoptotic markers. Several histopathological changes were observed, including strong immunoreactions for caspase-3 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen. Conversely, the administration of NAC before GLP was able to improve seminal parameters, attenuate the induced oxidative stress and apoptosis in addition to the regeneration of testicular damage. In conclusion, NAC can ameliorate the reproductive toxicity induced by GLP to an acceptable degree.
Keywords: N-acetylcysteine; apoptosis; glyphosate; histopathology; testis.
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