Effects of Carthamus tinctorius L. on the ovarian histomorphology and the female reproductive hormones in mice

Document Type: Original Research Article


1 Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Para-Veterinary Medicine, University of Ilam, Ilam, I.R. Iran

2 Department of Fisheries, Faculty of Marine Natural Resources, Khorramshahr University of Marine Science and Technology, Khorramshahr I.R. Iran


Objective: Carthamus tinctorius L. (Safflower) is a member of the asteraceae family which had been classified as a fertility regulator in the traditional medicine. The purpose of this study was to investigate its possible effects on the ovarian histomorphology and the levels of female reproductive hormones in the mice.
Materials and Methods: Sixty adult female Balb/C mice were selected and randomly divided into one control and three experimental groups (n= 15). The control group received only distilled water, while experimental groups were administered intraperitoneally C. tinctorius extract at doses of  0.7, 1.4, and 2.8 mg/kg/day for 49 consecutive days. In the end of experiments, blood samples were collected and the sera were analyzed for the levels of FSH, LH, estrogen, and progesterone. Ovarian tissue samples were also taken and histomorphological changes of the ovaries were examined using optical microscope. The quantitative results were statistically analyzed by one-way ANOVA test.
Results: The present findings showed that treatment with different concentrations of C. tinctorius extract reduced the number of ovarian follicles but number of atretic follicles showed an increase. The number and size of the corpora lutea were not affected by extract administration. In addition, in the treated mice with C. tinctorius extract, the thickness of the tunica albuginea was increased but the relative and absolute weights of the ovaries decreased significantly. Furthermore, the blood levels of the FSH and estrogen were decreased in the three experimental groups compared with those of the control animals.
Conclusion: The present findings indicated that treatment with C. tinctorius extract has detrimental effects on the ovarian histomorphology and female reproductive hormones therefore popular consumption of this plant should be reconsidered.


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