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Arsenite is a major environmental chemical and a known reproductive toxicant via the depression of spermatogenesis and androgenesis in males. The possibility of sodium arsenite reproductive toxicity been caused by autooxidation was investigated in this study taking advantage of the anti-oxidant properties of ginger and its androgenic activities. The effect of exposure to sodium arsenite (10 mg/kg BW/day) by gavage via oral cannula without or with aqueous ginger extract (500mg/kg BW/day) co-treatments for 30 days was evaluated in adult male rats. The weight of the reproductive organs, sperm count, motility, and morphology were evaluated. Plasma FSH, LH and testosterone levels were assayed. Lipid peroxidation (indexed by MDA) and antioxidants enzymes likes GSH, SOD, CAT were assessed. Sodium arsenite treatment decreased the reproductive organs weight: testis, epididymis, prostate and seminal vesicle; sperm functions: count, motility and normal morphology; plasma hormones level: FSH, LH and testosterone. There was a decrease in the activities of GSH, SOD and CAT as well as an increase in MDA concentration. Co-administration of aqueous ginger extract with arsenite was found to protect against adverse change in the reproductive organ weight, attenuate the decrease in sperm functions, enhance plasma reproductive hormones level along with increased antioxidants activities and reduced peroxidation. This study showed that sodium arsenite apart from being a hormonal disrupter also causes oxidative stress which contributed to the reproductive damage in the male rats. The protective effects of ginger on reproductive toxicity and oxidative stress as evidenced by the clear restoration of sperm functions, testicular steroidogenesis and reproductive organo-somatic indices could be attributed to its antioxidants and androgenic properties.
Key Words: Arsenite, Ginger, Antioxidants and Sperm.