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Effects of Short and Medium Term use of Artesunate on Fertility in Male Rats
The effects of artesunate on major sperm parameters and testicular history in wistar rats were examined. Sixteen sexually mature wistar rats weighing 150-180gm were divided into 4 groups and administered 2mg/kg or 1mg/kg of the drug for period ranging 2-8weeks. Control animals were administered water only. All animals were allowed food and water ad-libitum. At the end of these periods, the animals were euthanized and their cauda epididymes, testes, prostrate and seminal vesicles were neatly removed from them. Major sperm parameters were obtained from the epididymal sperm and the testis prepared and examined histologically. Results showed normal to raise sperm parameters in both groups treated for 2 weeks. Sperm density in millions/gm of testes in groups 2 and 3 which received different doses of the drug for 2 weeks was 62.0+10.2 and 65.6+13.8 respectively compared to 52.1+11.0 in control rats. However after 4 weeks on the drug all major parameters were significantly depressed. Sperm density was 20.3+1.5 and abnormal sperm rate 71.7% compared to 52.1+11.0 and 26.7+2.3% in control animals respectively.
This study suggests that under certain conditions, artesunate will suppress spermatogenesis. Until exhaustive studies of the drug\'s effects on fertility are accomplished, it must be used with appropriate caution in young people.
Keywords: Artesunate, spermatogenesis, sperm parameters.
Nigerian Journal of Health and Biomedical Sciences Vol. 7 (2) 2008: pp. 18-21