Effects of carbendazim (methyl 2-benzimidazole carbamate; MBC) on meiotic spermatocytes and subsequent spermiogenesis in the rat testis

Masaaki Nakai, Rex A. Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Benzimidazole fungicide, carbendazim, is known to adversely affect Sertoli cells by disrupting microtubules, which induces sloughing of elongate spermatids in a stage-specific manner. This study determines the direct effects on dividing germ cells and the subsequent effects on spermiogenesis. Methods: Carbendazim was administered orally to male rats (100 mg/kg), and their testes were processed for histological evaluation at various post-treatment intervals up to day 20.0. Results: The sloughing of elongate spermatids was observed as reported previously. In addition to this Sertoli cell lesion, necrosis of dividing spermatocytes in stage XIV was observed at 8 hours post-treatment. At day 1.5, empty spaces of missing step 1 spermatids were seen in stage I. At days 4.5 and 7.5, normal round spermatids were missing, but large round spermatids (megaspermatids) and binucleate spermatids were common. The megaspermatid nucleus was approximately 33% larger in diameter than normal round spermatids. At day 10.5, megasteps 10-12 spermatids, binucleate spermatids, and three to four different steps of spermatids coexisting in the same tubule section were present in stages X-XII. In addition, abnormally shaped elongating spermatids were observed having distorted heads and nuclear invagination containing microtubules. At day 20.0, empty spaces of missing diplotene spermatocytes were seen in stage XIII. Conclusions: The present observations show that carbendazim has rapid direct effects on meiotic spermatocytes and latent effects on spermatids, leading to morphological abnormalities and failure of spermiogenesis. These effects are found independent of occlusions in the efferent ductules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-387
Number of pages9
JournalThe Anatomical Record
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1997


  • carbendazim
  • rat
  • spermatids
  • spermatocytes
  • spermiogenesis
  • testis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

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