We previously reported that rdw rats were infertile in both sexes. The present study was conducted to determine whether hypothyroidism in adult male rdw rats induced infertility by impairing sexual behavior or testicular function, whether the infertility could be reversed by thyroxine (T4) treatment, and whether the mutant could be produced by infertile rdw rats via in vitro fertilization. The sexual behavior was analyzed by pairing with normal female rats. The fertility of epididymal sperm was determined by in vitro fertilization. The results indicated that the infertility resulted from both defective sexual behavior and testicular function. No untreated rdw rats mated. The weights of epididymides were significantly low, whereas those of testes were not different from those of untreated normal rats. Epididymal sperm with cytoplasmic droplets were observed at a significantly high frequency. No fertilization was detected either in vivo or in vitro. Thyroxine treatment markedly increased serum T4 levels and the weights of both epididymides and testes. Partial reversion of the impaired sexual behavior was observed, and the percentage of epididymal sperm with cytoplasmic droplets was markedly decreased after T4 treatment. Fertility of epididymal sperm was completely reversed when determined both in vivo and in vitro, and homozygous embryos developed to term after transfer without loss of viability.
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