Heavy Metal Toxicosis and Male Fertility: The Role of Pentahydroxyflavone Quercetin: a Review

  • S.I. Salihu
  • I.L. Yusuf
  • A. Abba
  • M.B. Tijjani
  • U.A. Maina
  • B.U. Shamaki
Keywords: Fertility, Heavy metals, Quercetin, Toxicant, Health


The effect of heavy metals (HMs) has been extensively studied. They cause diverse clinical manifestation through various mechanisms. Male fertility is among the most disturbing effect of HMs affecting family life in human and reproduction in animals. Notably among these effects is interference with the reproductive hormones, morphology and function of reproductive organs, sexual behaviors, and the spermiogram. Quercetin is a dietary flavanoid from edible plants and, has proven pharmacological properties in the treatment and management of many disease conditions. Quercetin ameliorates the adverse effects of HMs on male reproductive hormones by increasing the activity of 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β- HSD) and 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17β-HSD) in the synthesis of testosterone. Quercetin chelates HMs, scavenge free radicals, and other cytotoxicant capable of disrupting the morphology and function of the male reproductive system. Apart from it neuroprotective activity on the pituitary gland and increased steroidogenesis, quercetin mitigate neurotransmitter that aid in copulation and improve histopathological changes in the brain due to HMs toxicity to improve sexual behavior. Quercetin was also found to be effective in increasing sperm count, daily sperm production, mortility, viability, and also decreased in the percentage of abnormal sperm morphology due to HMs toxicity. In conclusion quercetin was found to be effective in mitigating HMs toxicity that affects male fertility, and so, it is recommended to be incorporated into the treatment and management of HMs toxicity. Individuals who are at risk of HMs toxicity should take dietary plants that contain quercetin to minimize the effects of these metals.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2659-1502
print ISSN: 1119-8362