A study of the effect of high concentrations of fluoride on the reproductive organs of male rabbits, using light and scanning electron microscopy
Summary. Fluoride was orally administered to rabbits at 10 mg NaF/kg body weight for 18 or 29 months. The animals were then killed and the structure of the testis, epididymis and vas deferens studied under light and scanning electron microscopes. In animals treated for 29 months, the spermatogenic cells in the seminiferous tubules were disrupted, degenerated and devoid of spermatozoa. In animals treated for 18 or 29 months, loss of cilia on the epithelial cells lining the lumen of the ductuli efferentes of the caput epididymidis and of stereocilia on the epithelial cells lining the lumen of the vas deferens was observed. In some regions of the epithelial lining of the lumen of the ductuli efferentes and vas deferens, the boundaries of the cells were not clear and appeared to be peeled off. Mucus droplets were abundant in the vas deferens of control animals, but absent in both the treated groups. Spermatogenesis ceased only in animals treated for 29 months. The difference in the structural changes observed in the testes of the 2 treated groups may have been due to the blood–testis barrier. It is concluded that ingestion of high concentrations of fluoride has harmful effects on the male reproductive system.