Histomorphological effects of sodium arsenite on uterus of rats

Amaidah Mir, Hammad Ahmed Butt, Maria Yasmeen, Anber Saleem, Ruqqia Shafi Minhas, Sumaira Abbasi


Background: Arsenic is highly toxic agent and a risk factor for disease and disability. Arsenic is present in drinking water of many developing and developed countries including Pakistan and due to rapid industrialization its quantity in soil and water is increasing day by day.

Methods: In an 18 month study in which we took two principal groups, labelled as control group A and experimental group B. The animals of experimental group B were administered 4 µg of sodium arsenite dissolved in 10 ml of distilled water by oral gavage daily for 14 days. The uterus was removed and processed for paraffin embedding and stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H and E). The histological parameters; uterine luminal diameter, height of uterine luminal epithelium, area occupied by epithelial component of uterine glands and the thickness of myometrium were measured and evaluated by civil AutoCAD 2013 software. The data was analyzed statistically with the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS).

Results: Histological results showed the degenerative effects. The luminal diameter of uterine horns was reduced in experimental animals. The height of uterine epithelium was reduced. Area occupied by epithelial component of uterine glands was reduced along the reduction in the thickness of myometrium.

Conclusions: The histological abnormalities observed in uterus showed that the degenerative effects may be due to oxidative stress produced by the exposure to sodium arsenite. As sodium arsenite produces the oxidative stress by the formation of free radicals and by the denaturation of proteins.


Arsenic, Cervix, Free radicals, Oxidative stress, Uterus, Vagina

Full Text:



Daud MK, Nafees M, Ali S, Rizwan M, Bajwa RA, Shakoor MB, et al. Drinking Water Quality Status and Contamination in Pakistan. Biomed Res Int. 2017;7908183.

Chowdhury S, Mazumder MA, Al-Attas O, Husain T. Heavy metals in drinking water: Occurrences, implications, and future needs in developing countries. Sci Total Environ. 2016;569-570:476-88.

Perry MR, Prajapati VK, Menten J, Raab A, Feldmann J, Chakraborti D, et al. Arsenic exposure and outcomes of antimonial treatment in visceral leishmaniasis patients in Bihar, India: a retrospective cohort study. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015;9(3):e0003518.

Armienta MA, Rodríguez R, Cruz O. Arsenic Content in Hair of People Exposed to Natural Arsenic Polluted Groundwater at Zimapán, México. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 1997;59(4):583-9.

Punshon T, Jackson BP, Meharg AA, Warczack T, Scheckel K, Guerinot ML. Understanding arsenic dynamics in agronomic systems to predict and prevent uptake by crop plants. Sci Total Environ. 2017;581-2:209-20.

Kosnett MJ. Arsenic. In: Brent J, Burkhart K, Dargan P, Hatten B, Megarbane B, Palmer R, et al., editors. Critical Care Toxicology: Diagnosis and Management of the Critically Poisoned Patient. Cham: Springer International Publishing. 2017;1639-67.

Rudnai T, Sándor J, Kádár M, Borsányi M, Béres J, Métneki J, et al. Arsenic in drinking water and congenital heart anomalies in Hungary. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2014;217(8):813-8.

Kim YJ, Kim JM. Arsenic Toxicity in Male Reproduction and Development. Dev Reprod. 2015;19(4):167-80.

Chatterjee A, Chatterji U. Arsenic abrogates the estrogen-signaling pathway in the rat uterus. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2010;8:80.

Dezfouli MGZ, Eissazadeh S, Zade SMAS. Histological and Histometrical Study of the Protective Role of α-Tocopherol against Sodium Arsenite Toxicity in Rat Ovaries. Microsc Microanal. 2014;20(4):1167-79.

Sarkar M, Chaudhuri GR, Chattopadhyay A, Biswas NM. Effect of sodium arsenite on spermatogenesis, plasma gonadotrophins and testosterone in rats. Asian J Androl. 2003;5(1):27-31.

Mehta M, Hundal SS. Effect of sodium arsenite on reproductive organs of female Wistar rats. Arch Environ Occu Health. 2016;71(1):16-25.

Hong YS, Song KH, Chung JY. Health effects of chronic arsenic exposure. J Prev Med Public Health. 2014;47(5):245-52.

Patricio BP, Brantes S. Normal Menstrual Cycle. Intech Open. 2018.

Mondal S, Mukherjee S, Chaudhuri K, Kabir SN, Kumar Mukhopadhyay P. Prevention of arsenic-mediated reproductive toxicity in adult female rats by high protein diet. Pharmaceutical Biol. 2013;51(11):1363-71.

Whirledge S, Cidlowski JA. Glucocorticoids, stress, and fertility. Minerva Endocrinol. 2010;35(2):109-25.

Jana K, Jana S, Samanta PK. Effects of chronic exposure to sodium arsenite on hypothalamo-pituitary-testicular activities in adult rats: possible an estrogenic mode of action. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2006;4:9.

Lim HJ, Wang H. Uterine disorders and pregnancy complications: insights from mouse models. J Clin Investig. 2010;120(4):1004-15.

Patel B, Elguero S, Thakore S, Dahoud W, Bedaiwy M, Mesiano S. Role of nuclear progesterone receptor isoforms in uterine pathophysiology. Hum Reprod Update. 2015;21(2):155-73.

Akram Z, Jalali S, Shami SA, Ahmad L, Batool S, Kalsoom O. Adverse effects of arsenic exposure on uterine function and structure in female rat. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2010;62(4):451-9.