Let’s get the lead out!

50 Years Ago Today
Let’s get the lead out!

VOLUME 116, ISSUE 5, P1286


Olivia Carpinello, M.D., Alan DeCherney, M.D.


In the November 1971 issue of Fertility and Sterility, Drs. Howard Stowe and Robert Goyer (1) from the University of North Carolina published an article detailing the effects of lead toxicity on the reproductive outcomes in rats. They set up the following matings: control female to control male (CF-CM), control female to lead-toxic male (CF-PbM), lead-toxic female to control male (PbF-CM), and lead-toxic female to lead-toxic male (PbF-PbM). The reported outcomes included the number of pups per litter, pup birth weights, weaned litter size, and survival rates. PbF-CM and PbF-PbM matings resulted in fewer pups per litter, and all mating combinations with lead-toxic rats (PbF-CM, CF-PbM, PbF-PbM) resulted in lower mean birthweights and smaller weaned litter sizes. The survival rate of pups born to PbF-PbM matings was significantly lower than that for controls and those born to one lead-toxic parent (PbF-CM or CF-PbM). The investigators also histologically examined the gonads from control and lead-toxic males and females. Although there were no differences between the testes or epididymides in control vs. lead-toxic rats, the ovaries of lead-toxic rats showed mostly corpora lutea and albicans, while the control ovaries showed numerous follicles in various stages of development.

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