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Assessment of Polyscias fruticosa (L.) Harm (Araliaceae) leaf extract on male fertility in male Wistar rats

ALEX BOYE, Appiagyei Kwaku Osei-Owusu, George Assumeng Koffuor, Victor Yao Atsu Barku, Ernest Amponsah Asiamah, Emmanuel Asante.


Background: Polyscias fruticosa is used widely as food, disease remedy and as an ornamental across Afro-Asian countries. For instance, P. fruticosa is used traditionally as an anti-asthma, anti-tussive, and a muco-suppressant herbal remedy for asthmatics in Ghana. Although many studies have investigated the pharmacological basis of the ethnobotanical uses of P. fruticosa, however, its effect on the reproductive system remains completely unknown. Aim of study: This study assessed effects of Polyscias fruticosa leaf extract (PFE) on male fertility and toxicity in adult male Wistar rats. Materials and methods: after crude preparation of PFE, it was subjected to qualitative phytochemical, thin layer chromatography (TLC) and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analyses. Effect of PFE was assessed on male fertility and toxicity by using healthy adult male Wistar rats. Rats were randomly assigned to: normal saline (5 ml/kg po, n = 5), Clomiphene Citrate (50 mg/kg po; n = 5) and PFE (100, 200 and 500 mg/kg po; n = 5 respectively) groups and treated for 21 days. On day 22 rats were sacrificed and male fertility parameters (left testis weight, relative testis weight, caudal epididymal weight, caudal epididymal sperm count, sperm motility, sperm morphology and assessment of male sex hormones and testicular histology) were assessed. Results: There were no significant changes in bodyweight, weight of left testis, weights of right and left caudal epididymides between treatments groups (PFE and clomiphene citrate) and control. Caudal epididymal sperm count increased in PFE (100 and 500 mg/kg)-treated rats relative to control. Sperm motility relatively increased in PFE-treated rats compared to control. Sperm abnormality decreased in PFE-treated rats; especially in PFE (100 mg/kg) group compared to control. Serum testosterone levels decreased inversely with serum luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in PFE-treated rats compared to control. There were minimal-to-no-alterations in histological sections of testis, except vacuolations at primary spermatocyte stage. Glycosides, saponins, cyanogenic glycosides, sterols and alkaloids were detected in PFE. Conclusion: PFE improved caudal epididymal sperm count and may be useful as male fertility enhancer but exhaustive safety studies on key male sex organs needs to be established.

Key words: Luteinizing hormone, Male fertility, Polyscias Fruticosa, Testicular toxicity, Testosterone

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