Epididymis is a coiled long tube essential for male reproduction and fertility. The cells of the pseudostratified columnar epithelium produce a special luminal fluid that maintain, nourish and stimulates the maturation of spermatozoa. The clear cells are responsive to luminal microenvironment stimuli and, by the accumulation of V-ATPase in the apical membrane, these cells secrete protons, which maintain the luminal pH. The contraction of the smooth muscular layer surrounding the epithelium transport sperm cells through the epididymis. Venlafaxine, an antidepressant drug that inhibits serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake, has been widely used in a scenario where depression has been a very serious disease. Around 67% of patients treated with venlafaxine has demonstrated sexual dysfunctions such as erectile and ejaculation dysfunctions. However, studies on the impact of venlafaxine on the structure and/or function of male reproductive system, including epididymis, are scarce in the literature. In this study, we evaluate the impact of venlafaxine treatment on the structural and functional integrity of epididymis in adult male rats, focusing on the epithelial cells and smooth muscular layer of epididymis. Ten male adult rats will be distributed into two groups: (n=5): Venlafaxine group (VFG35) and control group (CG35). The animals will receive 30mg/Kg b.w. of venlafaxine chlorhydrate by gavage for 35 days, and the animals from CG35 will receive distilled water. The epididymis will be collected and sectioned into two portions (head + corpus and cauda), fixed and processed for paraffin and historesin embedding. In the H.E.-stained historesin sections, the minor diameter of epididymal duct and the thickness of the muscular layer will be measured. The paraffin sections will be submitted to TUNEL method for detection of cell death in the epithelial and muscular layers. Immunofluorescence reaction for detection of ATPase in the clear cells will be performed. The quantitative results will be statistically analyzed by Student t-test, (pd0.05).
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