Fluoride Action Network


The effects of ingestion of sodium fluoride (NaF), 10 mg/kg body weight for 50 days, on the structure and metabolism of sperm of albino rats (Rattus norvegicus), were investigated. In different groups of rats, the reversible effects upon withdrawal of NaF treatment and by administering some therapeutic agents, viz., ascorbic acid and calcium alone and in combination with NaF (50 and 70 days), on sperm structure and metabolism were also studied. The results revealed that the sperm acrosomal hyaluronidase and acrosin were reduced after 50 days of NaF treatment. Sperm stained with acidic alcoholic silver nitrate revealed acrosomal damage and deflagellation, which might be causative factors for the reduced activity of the enzymes. These alterations also resulted in a decline in sperm motility. The cauda epididymal sperm count was decreased, perhaps because of spermatogenic arrest. Thus, the low sperm motility and count ultimately contributed toward reduction in fertility by NaF treatment. However, withdrawal of NaF treatment for 70 days produced incomplete recovery, while administration of ascorbic acid and calcium, individually and in combination, brought about significant recovery of fluoride-induced effects. Thus, the effects of fluoride on sperm structure and metabolism of rats are transient and reversible.