Evaluation of possible toxic effects of spearmint (Mentha spicata) on the reproductive system, fertility and number of offspring in adult male rats

Document Type: Original Research Article

Authors

1 Department of Biology, Payame Noor University (PNU), IRAN

2 Department of Reproductive Biology, School of Advanced Medical Sciences and Technologies, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, I. R. Iran

3 Department of Biology, Sciences and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, I. R. Iran

4 Biology Group, Department of Education, Fars, I. R. Iran

Abstract

Objective: In this study we investigated the effects of spearmint (Mentha spicata Labiatae) on the reproductive system, fertility and number of offspring in adult male rats.
Materials and Methods: Adult Wistar male rats in one control (C) and three experimental groups (I, II and III) received 0, 10, 20 and 40 mg/kg spearmint extract orally for 45 days, respectively.  Following this treatment, the animals’ weights, and the standard weight of reproductive tissues, sperm count, sperm motility and serum testosterone concentration were measured, and reproductive tissues were examined histopathologically. To evaluate the effects of spearmint on fertility of male rats and growth of their offspring, male rats of the control and experimental groups mated with untreated female rats.
Results: Results showed that spearmint did not affect the rats’ body and reproductive tissue weights. The sperm count, fast and slow progressive motility of sperm and serum testosterone concentration decreased while number of non-progressive sperm and immotile sperm increased in the experimental groups compared to the control group, but none of these changes were statistically significant. Histopathological studies showed no severe changes in reproductive tissues between control and experimental groups. Number and growth of offspring born from mating of male rats with untreated female rats showed no difference.
Conclusion: We concluded that spearmint has no significant toxic effect on the reproductive system, fertility and number of offspring in adult male rats at the above  mentioned dose levels. However high levels of this extract may have adverse effects on male fertility.

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