The protective effect of turmeric (Curcuma longa) to damage caused by lead acetate on feed intake, body weight change and reproductive performance of male Wistar rats

Document Type : Physiology


1 Tehran University

2 Ferdwosi University of Mashhad

3 University of Shiraz

4 Ferdowsi University of Mashhad


Introduction Hyperglycemia increase oxidative stress which contributes to development and progression of diabetic complications. Oxidative stress refers to an imbalance between the free radicals production and antioxidant defenses that led to tissue damage. Lead is known to induce a broad range of physiological, biochemical, and behavioral dysfunctions on nervous systems, haemopoietic system, cardiovascular system, kidneys, liver and reproductive systems in animals as well as humans. Furthermore, Lead absorbed through the digestive tract, respiratory system, and skin of animals. Lead can apply its toxic effects on various parts of the body. Some feed additives can protect animal body against adverse effects of the absorbed lead. This study investigated the protective effects of turmeric on adverse consequences of lead acetate in diabetic Wistar rat.
Materials and method Thirty-two male Wistar rats were randomly allocated to 4 groups of 8. The experimental groups were 1) the Control, 2) diabetic control (streptozotocin injected in dose of 55 ppm), 3) diabetic rats received lead acetate (55 ppm streptozotocin injected, 100 ppm of Lead acetate dissolved in water) and 4) diabetic rats received lead acetate and turmeric powder (55 ppm of streptozotocin injected, 100 ppm lead acetate dissolved in water, and 2% of feed turmeric powder). Streptozotocin (STZ) was dissolved in 0.1 M sodium citrate buffer at pH 4.5 just before use, and injected intraperitoneally (IP). Three days after STZ administration, the diabetic rats with blood glucose concentration more than 300 mg/dl were selected and divided into 4 groups. The experimental period was 4 weeks. At the end of the experiment (day 29) the rats were anesthetized with Ketamine (50 mg/kg) after withholding food for 12 h. The blood samples were taken from the heart apex to assess lipids, enzymes and hormone concentrations. The right testis was removed after collecting the blood, washed in saline, and fixed in 10% formalin at room temperature for 72 h. After fixing the tissue, it was thoroughly washed under running water and dehydrated in ascending grades of ethyl alcohol, cleared, and embedded in soft paraffin. Tissue sections of about 5μm were obtained, stained with hematoxylin and eosin, and examined under light microscope. Twenty seminiferous tubular sections were selected from stained testes of rats and then some parameters such as seminiferous tubule diameter, lumen, cell thickness and number of Leydig cells and Sertoli cells were measured and recorded.
Results and Discussion Feed intake and live weight gain significantly reduced in diabetic rats, in comparison with the control group. Lead acetate led to more reduction in feed intake although, turmeric feeding showed a positive response in this parameter (feed intake). Moreover, higher basal metabolic rate in diabetic rats led to increase in lipid and protein degradation. Based on histological findings, the activity of spermatogenous tissue was affected by diabetes treatment. The cell thickness and cell number of spermatocytes and sertoli cells reduced significantly in diabetic and lead exposure rats compared to the control group. This reduction was exacerbated in diabetic rats exposed to lead acetate. The number of sertoli cells and spermatocytes in diabetic and lead acetate rats showed a reduction trend. Decreasing seminiferous cell wall thickness is probably due to the effects of lead oxidation through increasing free radical production in the testes. Shrunken and narrow thickened basement membrane, sharp decrease in seminiferous cell wall thickness, increased the diameter of the lumen, interstitial tissue destruction and reducing the number of layers of spermatogenesis were seen in diabetic- lead acetate. These changes may affect sperm production and reproductive performance. Shrunken but organized seminiferous was observed in diabetic and lead acetate with turmeric rats than diabetic and lead treatment. Testosterone level reduced in lead acetate and diabetic rats in comparison with the control animals, but turmeric feeding led to an increment in testosterone concentration. Antioxidant activity effects of turmeric and binding with lead acetate decrease free radicals and reduce damage to the testes.
Conclusion Lead acetate probably increases oxidation in the testis tissue of diabetic rats with damages in the cell layers and reduced testosterone production and exacerbates the effects of diabetes on reducing reproductive performance. It was concluded that turmeric supplementation protect rats from some harmful effects of lead toxicity in form of lead acetate or other lead containing chemicals. The presence of special ingredients such as curcumin in turmeric powder with its antioxidative stress property was the main reason for this protective effects although more study are needed.


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