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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11-14
 

Efficacy of vitamin C and ethanolic extract of Sesamum indicum in promoting fertility in male Wistar rats


1 Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria
2 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso; and Human Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria
3 Human Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Date of Submission19-Sep-2009
Date of Decision24-Oct-2009
Date of Acceptance17-Dec-2009
Date of Web Publication10-May-2010

Correspondence Address:
E O Salawu
Department of Physiology, Ladoke Akitola University of Technology, College of Medicine Ogbomoso
Nigeria
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DOI: 10.4103/0974-1208.63115

PMID: 20607002

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   Abstract 

Aims: This study investigates the efficacy of ethanolic extract of Sesamum indicum (EES), vitamin C (VC), and EES + VC in promoting fertility and finding a possible link between their profertility effects and their antioxidant activities. Materials and Methods: Forty adult male Wistar rats [Body weight (BW) 186.56 ± 0.465 g] were randomly analyzed into four groups of ten rats each: Control, EES G (EES only), VC G (vitamin C only), and EES + VC G (EES in conjunction with vitamin C). Control was given 5 ml/kg BW/day of normal saline orally; EES G was administered 0.3 g/kg BW/day of EES; VC G was administered 15 mg/kg BW/ day of VC; while EES + VC G was administered both 0.3 g/kg BW/day of EES and 15 mg/kg BW/day of VC. All treatments were for 10 weeks. Statistical Analysis Used: Independent-sample T test was used to analyze the obtained results. Results: The results obtained showed that EES, VC, and more importantly EES + VC are capable of significantly increasing BW gain, seminal parameters, testosterone level, and body antioxidant activities. Conclusions: These findings lead to the conclusion that EES + VC as well as ESS and VC promote fertility due to both their testosterone-increasing effects and their antioxidant effects.


Keywords: Antioxidant, fertility, Sesamum indicum, sperm count, vitamin C


How to cite this article:
Ashamu E A, Salawu E O, Oyewo O O, Alhassan A W, Alamu O A, Adegoke A A. Efficacy of vitamin C and ethanolic extract of Sesamum indicum in promoting fertility in male Wistar rats. J Hum Reprod Sci 2010;3:11-4

How to cite this URL:
Ashamu E A, Salawu E O, Oyewo O O, Alhassan A W, Alamu O A, Adegoke A A. Efficacy of vitamin C and ethanolic extract of Sesamum indicum in promoting fertility in male Wistar rats. J Hum Reprod Sci [serial online] 2010 [cited 2014 Apr 19];3:11-4. Available from: http://www.jhrsonline.org/text.asp?2010/3/1/11/63115



   Introduction Top


Because infertility are highly diversified in etiology, their treatments also require diversified approach. Some orthodox medications and traditional medications have proved really useful in the treatment of infertility. [1] However, orthodox medications often have the disadvantage of strong side effects and too high costs. [2]

Some traditional doctors claim to use ethanolic extract of Sesamum indicum (EES) and citrus fruits [sources of vitamin C (VC)] to promote fertility. If we could establish that EES in conjunction with VC significantly promotes fertility, then there is a possibility that some cases of infertility could be treated cheaply with EES and VC. Many studies have also shown that antioxidants can enhance fertility either directly or indirectly and that most plants rich in antioxidants have the tendency to increase sperm counts, motility, and enhance sperm morphology. [3],[4] Sesamum indicum has lots of components appropriate for detoxification and quite a number of antioxidants such as sesamol, sesamolin sesamin, butylated hydroxytoluene, sesaminol triglucoside, and sesaminol diglucoside. [5] Similarly VC has been shown to be a free radical scavenger and to protect against lipid peroxidation. This ability has been reported to increase peripheral testosterone level and also attenuate testicular toxicity. [6] There is, therefore, a high possibility that EES acting alone, or with VC, can promote fertility and/or treat infertility.

This study aims to investigate the efficacy of EES, VC, and EES + VC in promoting fertility, and find a possible link between their profertility effects and antioxidant activities.


   Materials and Methods Top


Forty adult male Wistar rats of average body weight 186.56 ± 0.465 g were used for this study. They were inbred in the Animal House of the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria. The animals were transferred to the research section, and acclimatized over a period of 2 weeks. The research section was adequately ventilated and maintained at a temperature of 24-268C, relative humidity of 70-75%, and at light/dark cycle of 12/12 hours. The rats were fed with commercially available rat pellet. The maintenance, care, and treatments of the rats comply with National Institutes of Health guidelines for the humane use of laboratory animals, and those of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria.

The VC used was manufactured by, and obtained from, Tuyil Pharmaceutical Company, Ilorin, Nigeria. Sesamum indicum was obtained from Forest Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Ibadan, Nigeria. The Sesamum indicum was authenticated in the Herbarium Unit of the Department of Pure and Applied Biology, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria, and assigned Specimen number S11387.

EES was prepared following the exact method described by Kizhiyedathu et al. [5]

Grouping of animals and treatment

The rats [average body weight (BW) 186.56 ± 0.465 g] were randomly analyzed into four groups of 10 rats each: Control, EES G (extract of Sesamum indicum only), VC G (vitamin C only), and EES + VC G (EES indicum in conjunction with VC). Control was given 5 ml/kg BW of normal saline orally per day; EES G was administered 0.3 g/kg BW of EES per day; VC G was administered 15 mg/kg BW of VC per day; while EES + VC G was administered both 0.3 g/kg BW of EES and 15 mg/kg BW of VC per day. All treatments were for 10 weeks.

Animal sacrifice and collection of samples

Twenty-four hours after the last treatment, each animal was weighed and then sacrificed by cervical dislocation. Up to 4.0 ml blood samples were collected via cardiac puncture. Blood sample obtained from each rat was divided into two portions: 2.0 ml in a plain bottle and the other 2.0 ml in an ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid bottle. Plasma and serum were obtained by centrifugation at 3000 rpm for 20 minutes. Testis and caudal epididymis were excised from each rat.

Collection of data and statistical analysis

The left testis of each rat was homogenized (using soft tissue homogenizer manufactured by Omni International, USA) for tissue superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activities, and malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration. Sperm count, motility, morphology, and life-death ratio of the rats' spermatozoa were carried out from the epididymis. Serum testosterone level was determined. Plasma and tissue SOD and CAT activities, and MDA concentrations were determined using the methods described by Fridovich, [7] Sinha, [8] and Varshney and Kale, [9] respectively.

The data obtained are presented as mean ± SD. The control and test groups were compared using Independent-sample T test. Significance level was taken at P-value <0.05.


   Results Top


Body weight and testicular weight

Comparing their final and initial weights showed that there was significant body weight gain in all the groups over the period of the experiment. The weight gain in EES G group as well as EES + VC G was, however, significantly (P-value <0.01) higher than that of the control, while weight increase in VC G showed no significant difference from that of the control [Table 1].

The testicular weight of VC G showed no significant (P-value >0.05) difference from that of the control, while the testicular weight of EES G (P-value <0.05) and EES + VC G (P-value <0.01) was found to be significantly higher than that of the control [Table 1].

Sperm count (SC), life-death ratio (LDR) of sperm cells, sperm motility (SM), sperm morphology (SMP), and serum testosterone level (STL)

SC for EES G and EES + VC G treated animals was significantly (P-value <0.01) higher than that of the control, whereas SC for VC G alone showed no significant difference (P-value >0.05) from that of the control. Likewise, LDR of EES G and EES + VC G was found to be significantly (P-value <0.01) higher than that of the control, while VC showed no significant (P-value >0.05) difference from the control [Table 2].

EES G and EES + VC G groups had SM that was significantly (P-value <0.05 and <0.01, respectively) higher than that of the control, whereas SM for VC G was not significantly (P-value >0.05) different from that of the control. SMP was, however, not significantly (P-value >0.01) different in all the test groups compared with the control [Table 2].

There was significant (P-value <0.05) increase in STL in all the test groups compared to the control [Table 2].

Plasma and testicular superoxide dismutase activity

Plasma and testicular SOD activity were found to be significantly higher in all the treated groups (P-value <0.01 in EES G and EES + VC G ; and P-value <0.05 in VC G ) compared to the control [Table 3].

Plasma and testicular catalase activity

While testicular catalase (CAT) activity was found to be significantly higher in all the treated groups (P-value <0.05) compared to the control, plasma CAT activity was only significantly (P-value <0.05) higher in EES + VC G [Table 4].

Plasma and testicular malondialdehyde concentration

Plasma Malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration was found to be significantly lower in all the treated groups (P-value <0.05 in EES G and VC G ; and P-value <0.01 in EES + VC G ) compared to the control. In a similar way, testicular MDA concentration was found to be significantly lower in all the treated groups (P-value <0.05 in EES G ; and P-value <0.01 in VC G and EES + VC G ) compared to the control [Table 5].


   Discussion Top


Even though VC is very important for normal health condition by its antioxidant and detoxification actions, [6] VC all by itself does not significantly affect the increase in body weight (weight gain). This explains the nonsignificant increase in weight gain of VC G compared to the control [Table 1]. This is in support of the findings of Ping-Chi et al. [10] On the contrary, EES acting alone (EES G ) and in conjunction with VC (EES + VC G ) significantly increases weight gain. The significant increase in weight gain in EES G can be linked to the high fat composition [11] and its high caloric content. Similar findings have earlier being documented by Salawu et al. [12] that methanolic extract of sesame has the ability to annul the weight reducing effect of hexane extract of Jatropha curcus seed oil; Ukwenya et al. [13] that Sesamum indicum significantly improved weight gain; and by Hanefy et al. [14] that methanolic extract of sesame (MES) prevents protein energy malnutrition, thus improving the growth performance in animals. However, the significantly higher weight gain noticed in EES + VC G reveals the possibility that EES in conjunction with VC have a synergistic effect on body weight, after all VC acting alone does not significantly affect body weight [Table 1]. A completely similar trend to that of body weight was noticed for absolute testicular weight throughout the groups.

The observed ability of VC to increase SC [Table 2] is in line with the outcomes of the study by Comhaire et al. [15] that antioxidants increase sperm concentration, and goes along with Sikka et al. [16] that a balance of the benefits and risks from ROS and antioxidants appears to be necessary for the survival and functioning of spermatozoa. This spermatogenic effect of VC can easily be linked to its antioxidant effects, which have been scientifically proved to be cytoprotective, and to attenuate testicular toxicity. They preserve the existing, and even make available more active/functional, semineferous tubules with good cyto-architecture. In a similar way, but with more effect, EES significantly increased SC [Table 2]. Salawu et al. [12] earlier documented a similar finding on methanolic extract of sesame. The SC-increasing effect of EES + VC was more marked and seems to be additive rather than synergistic as in the case of BW. This finding is able to provide some basis for the use of sesame in addition to citrus fruits for profertility effects and for preventing infertility by the traditional doctors/in folklore medicine.

The life-death ratio (LDR) of the EES + VC G was far higher than the LDR of all other groups [Table 2]. This further establishes and tends to establish the profertility effect of oral administration of EES in conjunction with VC. This outcome is justifiable by the claims in the review by Sikka et al. [16] that antioxidants are necessary for the survival of spermatozoa, and by the claims of folklore medicine.

The observed significant increase in SM and SMP in ESS + VC G [Table 2] further establishes the ability of EES acting in conjunction with VC to potentiate more efficient spermatogenesis and fertility. While VC acting alone did not significantly affect both SM and SMP as against the findings of Ping-Chi et al. [10] that VC protects spermatozoa from the loss of motility, EES all alone significantly increased both the SM and SMP, which is in support of the findings of Shittu et al. [17] The increment in SM and SMP in EES G was, however, lower than that of EES + VC G [Table 2]. This justifies the combination of EES and VC in traditional medicine for fertility issues, since "effect of EES + VC acting together" greater than "effect of VC and/or effect of EES acting separately."

The significant increase in both plasma and testicular SOD activity [Table 3] and CAT activity [Table 4] in all the treated groups is in support of the antioxidant activities of vitamin C [6] and sesame. [5] These findings are further reinforced by the significantly reduced plasma and testicular MDA contraction. The MDA concentration is lowered in all the treated groups because of their increased SOD and CAT activities.

VC acting alone, EES acting alone, and VC + EES acting together significantly increased blood testosterone level. This finding is parallel to the observations of Salawu et al., [ 12] Ukwenya et al., [ 13] and Shittu et al. [ 17] that sesame significantly increases blood testosterone level. This finding shows that EES and VC whether acting singly or together affect the hypothalamo-pituitary-testicular axis, thus elevating blood testosterone level. Therefore, the profertility effects of EES and VC are linked to their ability to raise the blood testosterone level, and not only to their antioxidant activities. In other words, it is scientifically reasonable to attribute the profertility effects of EES and VC to both their antioxidant effects [6 and 11, respectively] [Table 3],[Table 4],[Table 5] and their testosterone level increasing effect [12 and 6, respectively] [Table 2].

 
   References Top

1.Peter JH. The role of plants in traditional medicine and current therapy. J Altern Complement Med 1995; 1: 131-143.  Back to cited text no. 1      
2.Asenso-Okyere WK, Anum A, Osei-Akoto I, Adukonu A. Cost recovery in Ghana: Are there any changes in health care seeking behaviour? Health Policy Plan 1998;13:181-8.  Back to cited text no. 2      
3.Oluyemi KA, Jimoh OR, Adesanya OA, Omotuyi IO, Josiah SJ, Oyesola TO. Effects of crude ethanolic extract of Garcinia cambogia on the reproductive system of male wistar rats (Rattus Novergicus). Afr J Biotech 2007;6:1236-8.  Back to cited text no. 3      
4.Adesanya OA, Oluyemi KA, Ofusori DO, Omotuyi IU, Okwuonu CO, Ukwenya VA. Micromorphometric and stereological effects of ethanolic extracts of Garcinia cambogia seeds on the testes and epididymides of Adult Wistar Rats. Int J Alt Med 2007;5:32-7.  Back to cited text no. 4      
5.Kizhiyedathu PS, Ananthasankaran J, Chami A. In vitro studies on antioxidant activity of lignans isolated from sesame cake extract. J Sci of Food and Agri 2005;85:1779-83.  Back to cited text no. 5      
6.Saalu LC, Oluyemi KA, Omotuyi IO. Tocopherol (vitamin E) attenuates the testicular toxicity associated with experimental cryptorchidism in rats. Afr J Biotech 2007;6:1373-7.  Back to cited text no. 6      
7.Fridovich I. Superoxide dismutases. Adv Enzymol Relat Areas Mol Biol 1986;58:61-97.  Back to cited text no. 7      
8.Sinha AK. Colorimetric assay of catalase. Anal Biochem 1972;47: 389-94.  Back to cited text no. 8      
9.Varshney R, Kale RK. Effects of calmodulin antagonists on radiation-induced lipid peroxidation in microsomes. Int J Radiat Biol 1990;58:733-43.  Back to cited text no. 9      
10.Hsu PC, Liu MY, Hsu CC, Chen LY, Guo YL. Effects of vitamin E and/ or C on reactive oxygen species-related lead toxicity in the rat sperm. Toxicology 1998;128:169-79.  Back to cited text no. 10      
11.Afaf K, Lars Ε. Variation in fatty acid composition of the different acyl lipids in seed oils from four Sesamum species. J Ame Oil Chemists' Soc 1994;71:135-9.  Back to cited text no. 11      
12.Salawu EO, Ashamu EA, Adeleke AA, Oyewo OO, Ishola, OO, Ogunmodede OS. Methanolic extract of Sesamum indicum prevents antifertility effect of hexane extract of Jatropha curcas seed oil on male Wistar rats. Int J App Bio Res 2009;1:84-90.  Back to cited text no. 12      
13.Ukwenya VO, Oluyemi KA, Ashamu E, Saalu C, Oyewo OO, Makanjuola VO. Profertility effects of alchoholic extract of sesame in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Int J Nutri and Well 2008;5:121-7.  Back to cited text no. 13      
14.Hanafy MM, Seddik Y, Aref MK. Formulation of a protein-rich vegetable mixture for prevention of protein-calorie malnutrition. J Sci Food and Agri 1969;21:9-12.  Back to cited text no. 14      
15.Comhaire FH, Christophe AB, Zalata AA, Dhooge WS, Mahmoud AM, Depuydt CE. The effects of combined conventional treatment, oral antioxidants and essential fatty acids on sperm biology in subfertile men. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2000;63:159-65.  Back to cited text no. 15      
16.Shittu LAJ, Shittu RK, Adesite SO, Ajala M. Oluwole, BMA, Benebo BAS. Sesame radiatum phytoestrogens stimulate spermatogenic activity and improve sperm quality in adult male sprague dawley rat testis. Inter J Morph 2008;26:643-52.  Back to cited text no. 16      
17.Sikka SC, Rajasekaran M, Hellstrom WJ. Role of oxidative stress and antioxidants in male infertility. J Androl 1995;16:464-81.  Back to cited text no. 17      



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]


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