The psoralens adversely affect reproductive function in male wistar rats

Moussa M. Diawaraa, Kathryn J. Chavez, Doug Simpleman, David E. Williams, Michael R. Franklin, Patricia B. Hoyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The psoralens occur naturally in produce and are widely used in skin therapy. Studies show that 5-methoxypsoralen and 8-methoxypsoralen reduced birth rates in rats. We determined the effect of psoralens on reproductive function in male rats. Male Wistar rats were dosed daily with 5-methoxypsoralen or 8-methoxypsoralen (75 or 150 mg/kg, p.o.), or vehicle control. Treated males had significantly smaller pituitary glands, fewer sperm per ejaculate, and fewer sperm in the vasa defferentia and epididymides than controls. Dosing significantly elevated levels of testosterone and increased relative testis weight, but did not directly affect testicular weight. Females bred to dosed males required more time to become pregnant, and these males required more breeding attempts. The findings demonstrate the importance of determining the potential risk for infertility and/or birth defects in humans who are exposed to therapeutic, dietary, or occupational psoralens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalReproductive Toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • 5-Methoxypsoralen
  • 8-Methoxypsoralen
  • Birth defects
  • Birth rate
  • Reproductive behavior
  • Sperm production
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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