Impact of saffron on rat sperm membrane integrity and spermatogenesis status


Department of Anatomical Sciences and Molecular Biology, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background: Male factor has been considered as a 50% of infertility causes. One of the reasons for poor semen quality is oxidative stress. Saffron and vitamin E as antioxidant agent can be involved in free radical scavenging and improvement of semen quality.
Materials and Methods: We divided 30 adult male Wistar rats into saffron (n = 10), vitamin E (n = 10) and control (n = 10) groups randomly. Saffron (100 mg/kg/day), vitamin E (100 mg/kg/day), and distilled water (0.5 ml/day) were fed by gavage to the animals for 60 consecutive days in aforementioned groups. After cervical dislocation, both testes and left epididymis of each animal were removed and the cauda epididymal spermatozoa were aspirated for analysis of sperm parameters. Sperm membrane integrity was assessed by hypo-osmotic swelling test (HOST). In different groups, seminiferous tubule histological assessments were done after Hematoxylin -Eosin staining.
Results: The mean percentage of HOST positive sperm was increased in vitamin E and saffron groups as compared to control group. As we can see there was a significant difference among control and experimental groups (P < 0.001); also a significant difference was obtained between vitamin E and saffron groups (P = 0.002). The evaluation of seminiferous tubules has shown no significant differences among groups.
Conclusions: The present data suggest that saffron had superior antioxidant properties which can improve sperm parameters and membrane integrity so it can lead to develop fertility potential.


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