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*Peter P. Erigbali, Olubunmi O. Ezomoh and Sule O. Jimoh


The effect of carica papaya male flower extract on sulfasalazine induced reproductive toxicity in male albino rats was studied for a period of 18 days. The investigation was done with 24 male albino rats, placed in four (4) groups of six (6) each. Group 1(Normal control) was given normal saline. Group 2(Positive control) was given normal saline. Groups 3(Treated group 1) and 4(Treated group 2) were treated with carica papaya male flower extract once daily at 100mg/kg and 200mg/kg body weight respectively for 18 days. The rats in groups 2,3 and 4 were administered 500mg/kg of sulfasalazine (SASP) once daily for 3 consecutive days and all the groups (1-4) were allowed free access to food and water. Serum testosterone, Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), sperm count, sperm motility, sperm morphology, sperm pH and histopathology of the testes were assayed following standard procedure. We observed significantly (p˂0.05) increased weight gain in all the rats administered SASP, when compared with the normal control (178.57± 17.40). There was significant increase in weight gained by treated group 1(206.17 ± 3.19) than positive control group (189.85 ± 19.83), but decrease in weight gained by treated group 2 (203.1 ± 11.00) than treated group 1(p˂0.05). The sperm count decreased significantly (p˂0.05) in groups 2 (76.17 ± 4.63) and 3 (98.17 ± 21.77) compared to 1 (112.5±17.99). But sperm count increased significantly in groups 3 and 4 (118.17 ± 25.49) compared to 2. Sperm motility decreased in groups 2 (77.83±11.69), 3(69.45±13.32), 4 (72.33±19.64) compared to 1 (91.60±4.79) and decreased in 3 and 4 compared to 2. The pH of semen was slightly increased in groups 2(7.10±0.15), 3(7.10±0.20), 4(7.00±0.54) than 1(6.96±0.08) statistically (p<0.05), but not different comparing group 2 vs 3 and 4. There was significant decrease in semen morphology of groups 2(36.5±13.44), 3(37.16±5.57), 4(39.93±4.23) compared to 1(78.15±9.84), but increase in semen morphology of groups 3 and 4 compared to 2, although not significant (p<0.05). Result of hormonal profile showed that Testosterone and FSH were significantly decreased in groups 2(0.55 ± 0.05 and 0.30±0.00), 3(1.2 ± 0.1 and 0.35±0.07), 4(0.85 ± 0.05 and 0.20±0.00) compared to normal control (2.75 ± 0.05 and 0.65±0.07) respectively; also they were significantly lower in group 4 than group 2 (p<0.05). These observations seem to imply that carica papaya male flower potentially may boost fertility parameters; including hormonal profile (for FSH, testosterone), sperm count, semen quality and even repair testicular damage. The extract perhaps has reverse effect on sulfasalazine induced reproductive toxicity that affects fertility parameters, and thus can be considered as good treatment regimen for infertility. It also enhanced weight gain in the rats.

Keywords: Fertility parameters, carica papaya, sulfasalazine, infertility.

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