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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2021, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (2): 104-110.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2021.01.007

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Antifertility and profertility effects of the leaves and seeds of fluted pumpkin: Sperm quality, hormonal effects and histomorphological changes in the testes of experimental animal models

Rex-Clovis C. Njokua, Sunny O. Abarikwub   

  1. a. Department of Chemistry & Molecular Biology, Alex Ekwueme-Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, P.M.B. 1010, Abakaliki, Nigeria
    b. Department of Biochemistry, University of Port Harcourt, Choba, P.M.B. 5323, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
  • Online:2021-03-12 Published:2021-01-24
  • Contact: Sunny O. Abarikwu

Fluted pumpkin (FP; Telfairia occidentalis) is an edible vegetable, grown in West Africa, that is used in traditional medicine for its regulatory effects on the male gonads. Scientific articles concerning the effects of FP were identified by searching PubMed, PubChem, Scopus, Springer, ResearchGate, Google Scholar and Web of Science; this literature was to better understand the effects of FP seed (FPS) and leaf (FPL) extracts on the testes. Data showed that in experimental animals extracts of FPL and FPS at 1/100 of the lethal dose promoted testis regeneration and improved testosterone concentration and sperm quality, while at higher doses they had antifertility effects. Several extracts of FPS and FPL, including ethanol, aqueous, methanol and hydroethanolic, had protective effects on the testes of study animals at lower doses (≥ 50 mg/kg body weight), but at higher doses (≥ 200 mg/kg body weight) they inhibited hormone synthesis, sperm quality and histomorphological structure, under both normal and disease conditions. The posttreatment effects of FPS on the gonads were reversible in young mature rats and FPS had slight systemic toxic effects. Although, there are inconsistencies in some of the published results, the current evidence suggests that FPS and FPL have both profertility and reversible antifertility effects in experimental animals. 

Key words: Fluted pumpkin, Sperm, Male reproduction, Seeds, Fertility

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