Codeine Causes Poor Sperm Quality in Rabbits Predominantly via Oxidative Stress

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Codeine causes poor sperm quality in rabbits predominantly via oxidative stress

Codeine-induced sperm DNA damage is mediated predominantly by oxidative stress rather than apoptosis

A study involving New Zealand white rabbits was used to comprehensively analyse the effect of codeine on sperm cell quality and the potential pathways involved. Twenty one rabbits were randomly allocated into 3 groups; control, low-dose codeine, high-dose codeine. Codeine was administered daily for a total of 6 weeks.

At the end of 6 weeks, the sperm of each rabbit was comprehensively anaylsed. As predicted, the codeine group showed a significant decrease in sperm count, motility, viability, morphology and membrane integrity that was dose dependent. This correlated with a significant increase in sperm DNA fragmentation, oxidative damage and caspase 3-dependant (apoptosis) cell death.

However further statistical analysis found that the link between sperm DNA fragmentation and oxidative damage was greater than the link between sperm DNA fragmentation and caspase 3-dependant sperm death. This suggests codeine exposure causes poor sperm quality primarily via oxidative stress rather than sperm apoptosis.


  1. Human and mice spermatogenesis is close although not identical

Similar studies

Esua I S, et al (2019). Effect of Tramadol on Sperm Profile of Male Albino Rats.

Azari O, et al. (2014). The Effects of Long-Term Administration of Tramadol on Epididymal Sperm Quality and Testicular Tissue in Mice.


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