Sperm morphology and characteristics in male rats treated with leaf extract Combretum sordidum
This study assessed the reproductive toxicity potential of Combretum sordidum, a medicinal plant used in West Africa as an antioxidant and antimicrobial recipee. Male Wistar rats (25) were orally administered with the acetone extract of C. sordidum a dose of 100, 200, 400 or 800mg/kg for 14 days. On day 15, the rats were humanely sacrificed and semen samples were collected to determine the sperm morphology and characteristics. Histology of the testes was also carried out to assess for the effect of the extract. The extract caused morphological changes of the sperm cells, predominantly secondary abnormality. Primary abnormality observed was rudimentary tail and secondary abnormalities included bent mid-piece, curved mid-piece, bent tail, curved tail, tail-less head, head-less tail and looped tail. The reduction in primary abnormality as opposed to the increase in secondary abnormalities shows that administration over a period of time does not adversely affect spermatogenesis but causes morphological changes of the spermatozoa during maturation and storage at the epididymis. The reduction in sperm count and motility at high doses are indicative of a decline in sperm quality. Although, these semen parameters fall within the recommended range, chronic administration of the extract of C. sordidum may lead to infertility and further progress to sterility. It is therefore recommended that C. sordidum should not be administered at doses exceeding 200mg/kg and chronic exposure should be avoided in males with reproductive potentials.
Keywords: Toxicology, Male reproduction, Combretum sordidum, Wistar rat