Histological Study of the Toxic Effects of Solder Fumes
on Spermatogenesis in Rats
Toxic fumes generated during the soldering process contain various contaminants released at sufficient rates to cause both short- and long-term health problems. Studies have shown that these fumes change the quality and quantity of semen fluid in exposed workers. The aim of the present study was to determine the potentially toxic effects of solder fumes on spermatogenesis in seminiferous tubules of rats as an experimental model, with conditioned media in an exposed chamber.
Materials and Methods:
A total number of 48 male Sprague Dawley adult rats were randomly divided into experimental (n=30) and control (n=18) groups. Based on exposure time, each group was further subdivided into two, four and six subgroups. Rats in the experimental groups were exposed to solder fumes in an exposure chamber for one hour/ day. The concentrations of fumes [formaldehyde, stanum (Sn) and lead (Pb)] were measured by a standard method via atomic absorption and spectrophotometry. According to a timetable, under deep anesthesia, the rats of both experimental and control subgroups were killed. After fixation of testes, specimens were weighed and routinely processed. Paraffin sections were stained by hematoxylin and eosin. Spermiogenesis index was calculated and data analyzed by Mann Whitney NPAR test.
Analysis of air samples in the exposure chamber showed the following fume concentrations: 0.193 mg/m3 for formaldehyde, 0.35 mg/m3 for Sn and 3 mg/m3 for Pb. Although there was no significant difference in testes weight between control and experimental subgroups, there was only a significant difference in spermiogenesis index between the six week experimental and control subgroups (p<0.02).
The results of this study showed that solder fumes can change the spermiogenesis index in experimental groups in a time dependent manner.