Zhang J, Li Z, Qie M, Zheng R, Shetty J, Wang J. Sodium fluoride and sulfur dioxide affected male reproduction by disturbing blood-testis barrier in mice. Food Chem Toxicol. 2016 Aug;94:103-11. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2016.05.017.
Fluoride and sulfur dioxide (SO2), two well-known environmental toxicants, have been implicated to have adverse effects on male reproductive health in humans and animals. The objective of this study to investigate if the BTB is one of the pathways that lead to reproductive toxicity of sodium fluoride and sulfur dioxide alone or in combination, in view of the key role of blood testis barrier (BTB) in testis. The results showed that a marked decrease in sperm quality, and altered morphology and ultrastructure of BTB in testis of mice exposure to fluoride (100 mg NaF/L in drinking water) or/and sulfur dioxide (28 mg SO2/m(3), 3 h/day). Meanwhile, the mRNA expression levels of some vital BTB-associated proteins, including occluding, claudin-11, ZO-1, Ncadherin, α-catenin, and connexin-43 were all strikingly reduced after NaF exposure, although only the reduction of DSG-2 was statistically significant in all treatment groups. Moreover, the proteins expressions also decreased significantly in claudin-11, N-cadherin, α-catenin, connexin-43 and desmoglein-2 in mice treated with fluoride and/or SO2. These changes in BTB structure and constitutive proteins may therefore be connected with the low sperm quality in these mice. The role of fluoride should deserves more attention in this process.