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Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are a class of molecules used in treating depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. Paroxetine (PRT) is one of the most prescribed antidepressants, which has attracted great attention regarding its side effects in recent years. This study was planned to assess the adverse effects of paroxetine on the biochemical parameters and reproductive system. Fourteen male Wistar rats were randomly allocated into two groups (7 rats for each): control and treated with paroxetine at a dose of 5mg/kg.bw for two weeks. At the end of the experiment, blood was collected from the retro-orbital plexus for measuring the biochemical parameters, whereas the reproductive organs were removed for measuring semen quality and the histological investigations. Results showed that paroxetine induced significant changes in some biochemical parameters and alteration of semen quality, including sperm count, spermatids number and sperm viability, motility and abnormalities. The histopathological examinations of testis and epididymis revealed an alteration of spermatogenesis, cellular disorganization and vacuolization, enlargement of interstitial space, shrinkage and degenerative changes in the epithelium of seminiferous and epididymal tubules with few to nil numbers of spermatozoa in their lumen. In conclusion, paroxetine treatment caused changes in some biochemical parameters and sperm profiles as well as histopathologic effects of reproductive organs.
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