The transillumination technique as a method for the assessment of spermatogenesis using medicinal plants: The effect of extracts of black maca (Lepidium meyenii) and camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) on stages of the spermatogenic cycle in male rats

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Gonzales G.F.
Vasquez V.B.
Gasco M.
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Taylor & Francis Online
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Transillumination technique for assessment of stages of spermatogenic cycle is a useful tool for toxicological studies. This study was designed to determine the effect of two medicinal plants on spermatogenesis in male rats using the transillumination technique. For this, the effect of the combination of a fruit with highest content of ascorbic acid (Myrciaria dubia, camu camu) and extract of black maca (Lepidium meyenii) on seminiferous tubule stages scored by transillumination on intact tubules in adult male rats was assessed. Animals were treated during seven days with vehicle, black maca, camu camu or a mixture of black maca + camu camu and assessed for daily sperm production (DSP), stages of spermatogenic cycle as well as antioxidant activity and levels of flavonoids and polyphenols. Black maca increased stages of spermiation (VII–VIII) and mitosis of germ cells (IX–XI), whereas camu camu increased stages of mitosis (IX–XI) and meiosis (XII). Mixture of maca + camu camu increased stages of spermiation, mitosis and meiosis. All treatments increased DSP (p < 0.05) and epididymal sperm count (p < 0.05). Total polyphenols, flavonoids levels and antioxidant activity were higher in camu camu (p < 0.001) than in black maca. In conclusion, M. dubia (camu camu) has potential effects improving spermatogenesis and co-administered with maca increase stages of mitosis, meiosis and spermiation of the spermatogenic cycle as assessed by the transillumination technique. This technique is becoming increasingly a useful tool for assessment spermatogenesis.
This study was supported by a grant obtained from the Peruvian National Council of Sciences, Technology and Innovation (CONCYTEC) through the grant PROCOM 2009, No. 217-2009, Peru. G. F. participated in the design of the study and writing the paper. B. V. V. and M. G. participated in the development of the study. All the authors revised the manuscript. Dr. Gustavo F. Gonzales is in charge of CAYENATUR EIRL, a small enterprise that develops products based on maca. No other authors have conflict of interest.
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Planta medicinal, Botánica