The male reproductive system is being recognized as toxic targets of nanoparticles including titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiNP). Most of these reports are, however, obtained from the results of long-term exposure of TiNP. In this study, we diversely examined the acute effects of TiNP on the male reproductive system. Male C57BL/6J mice were administered a single intravenous injection of TiNP (10, 50 mg/kg), and were sacrificed at 1, 3, and 9 days post-injection. Testicular functions (estimated by sperm motility and sperm number) were measured via computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA). Results indicated that sperm motility was significantly reduced from 1 day following TiNP injection (in both dose), and this reduction persisted up to 9 days post-TiNP injection (10 mg/kg injection group). Interestingly, we observed no significant decrease in sperm numbers in both the testis and the cauda epididymis in either treatment groups during the course of the experiment. Therefore, we hypothesized that TiNP may target the mature spermatozoa. In addition, sperm suspensions directly incubated with TiNP showed reduced sperm motility, [3H]-thymidine incorporation, and ATP level. Our results indicated that TiNP possesses “biphasic effects”; the obstacles to mature sperms (short term effect) in addition to the impairment in testis (long-term effect).
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