Male exposure to cigarette smoke is associated with seminal defects and with congenital anomalies and childhood cancers in offspring. In mice, paternal exposure to cigarette smoke condensate (CSC) causes molecular defects in germ cells and phenotypic effects in their offspring. Here we used an ex vivo testicular explant model and in vivo exposure to determine the concentration at which CSC impairs spermatogenesis and offspring development. We explanted testis tissue at postnatal day (P)5.5 and cultured it until P11.5. Assessment of growth parameters by analyzing expression of cell-specific markers revealed that the explant system maintained structural and functional integrity. We exposed the P5.5 to -11.5 explants to various concentrations (40–160 mg/ml) of CSC and confirmed that nicotine in the CSC was metabolized to cotinine. We assessed various growth and differentiation parameters, as well as testosterone production, and observed that many spermatogenesis features were impaired at 160 mg/ml CSC. The same parameters were impaired by a similar CSC concentration in vivo. Finally, females mated to males that were exposed to 160 mg/ml CSC neonatally had increased rates of pup resorption. We conclude that male exposure to CSC impairs offspring development and that the concentration at which CSC impairs spermatogenesis is similar in vivo and ex vivo. Given that the concentrations of CSC we used contained similar doses of nicotine as human smokers are exposed to, we argue that our model mimics human male reproductive effects of smoking.
- Germ cells
- Marker proteins