Protective effects of garlic aquous extract (Allium sativum), vitamin E, and N-acetylcysteine on reproductive quality of male rats exposed to lead

Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Clinical Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran

2 Department of Basic science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran


The objective of present study was to investigate the effects of aqueous garlic extracts, vitamin E and N-acetylcysteine on lead-induced lipid peroxidation, changes in antioxidant defense system and semen quality in the rat testes. Twenty-five male rats were divided into five groups. Animals within different treatment groups were maintained on their respective diets for 35 days as follows: group 1 rats served as control and received water and standard pellets as food ad libitum; group 2 received lead acetate by gavage (1000 ppm); group 3 was treated with A. sativum extract (400 mg kg-1, by gavage) plus lead acetate (1000 ppm); group 4 was treated orally with vitamin E (300 mg of alpha-tocopherol per kg of chow) plus lead acetate (1000 ppm); group 5 was treated orally with N-acetylcysteine (800 ppm)plus lead acetate (1000 ppm). The weights of testes, epididymis, epididymal sperm count, viable and motile sperms decreased significantly (p < 0.05) in lead-exposed rats. However treatment with vitamin E and aqueous garlic extract resulted in a significant (p < 0.05) increase in sperm motility and viability. Exposure to lead acetate significantly increased malondialdehyde (MDA) level with a significant decrease in the superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities in the testes of rats while co-administration of vitamin E and lead caused a significant (p < 0.05) decrease in MDA concentration compared with lead-exposed group. These results suggest that both vitamin E and in to a lesser extent aqueous garlic extract have a potent antioxidant protection in the testes of rat against the lead-induced oxidative stress.