The objectives of this study were to understand the possible mechanism of duck sperm toxicity induced by arsenic exposure in vivo, and to investigate the roles of the antioxidant L-ascorbic acid in ameliorating the arsenic-induced sperm impairment. To test the acute toxicity, the percentages of mortality of mature drakes treated with different concentrations of trivalent sodium arsenite, As (III), and pentavalent sodium arsenate, As (V) were measured. The LD50 value of As (III) for mature drakes was 4.89±1.49 ppm. Although As (V) didn't cause any deaths even at a concentration of 40 ppm, the chronic toxicity of As (V) on sperm quality was shown by a decreased fertilization rate. When the concentrations of As (V) were above 0.4 ppm, fertilization rates were lower than those of 0.04 ppm and control. Drakes treated with 40 ppm of As (V) had the highest malondialdehyde (MDA) level in the testis tissue, 3.100±0.218 μmole/g testis. This showed that 40 ppm of As (V) significantly induced lipid peroxidation in testis tissue. For the 1.2 ppm As (III) treatment, several significant effects were observed: (1) sperm motility was decreased most dramatically by 52.0±9.1% after three days of incubation; (2) fertilization rate of artificially inseminated semen was the lowest, 26.4±15.4; (3) the MDA concentration in testis tissue, 7.846±0.246 μmole/g testis, was significantly higher than the others (p<0.05); (4) the sperm number, 1.17±0.40 (×109), was significantly lower than with the 60 ppb and control treatments (p<0.05); (5) a black appearance and soft texture was observed in the testis tissue. The antioxidant L-ascorbic acid administered along with 1.2 ppm As (III) decreased the toxicity of arsenic. The ameliorating effects included: improved sperm motility, increased sperm number and fertilization rate, and decreased MDA concentration in the testis tissue. This study suggests that the toxicity of the trivalent arsenic on sperm quality is partly from free radicals generated by its metabolic pathway, and the antioxidant ascorbic acid ameliorates arsenic-caused sperm impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalAsian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2002


  • Antioxidant
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Drake
  • Fertilization Rate
  • LD50
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Sperm Quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Engineering(all)


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