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Clin Exp Reprod Med. 2012 Dec;39(4):144-152. English. Original Article.
Dorostghoal M , Erfani Majd N , Nooraei P .
Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran.
Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran.

OBJECTIVE: Concerns are growing about the decrease in male reproductive health. Caffeine is one of the popular nutrients that has been implicated as a risk factor for infertility. In the present study, we examined whether in utero and lactational exposure to caffeine affects the reproductive function of the offspring of rats. METHODS: Pregnant rats received caffeine via drinking water during gestation (26 and 45 mg/kg) and lactation (25 and 35 mg/kg). Body and reproductive organ weight, seminiferous tubule diameter, germinal epithelium height, sperm parameters, fertility rate, number of implantations, and testosterone level of the offspring were assessed from birth to adulthood. RESULTS: Significant dose-related decreases were observed in the body and reproductive organ weight, seminiferous tubule diameter, and germinal epithelium height of the offspring. Sperm density had declined significantly in offspring of the low-dose and high-dose groups, by 8.81% and 19.97%, respectively, by postnatal day 150. The number of viable fetuses had decreased significantly in females mated with male offspring of the high-dose group at postnatal days 60, 90, 120, and 150. There were also significant reductions in testosterone levels of high-dose group offspring from birth to postnatal day 150. CONCLUSION: It is concluded that maternal caffeine consumption impairs gonadal development and has long-term adverse effects on the reproductive efficiency of male offspring rats.

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