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Background: The use of Jatropha curcas leaves in folklore medicine has gained popularity in recent times due to its medicinal value but without regards to its adverse health effect.
Aim: This study aimed at investigating the effect of J. curcas leaves on the fertility of male Wistar rats.
Methodology: Healthy leaves of J. curcas were harvested, dried and extracted using soxhlet apparatus and ethanol as the solvent. Toxicity test was carried out using standard method. Twenty-four adult male Wistar rats were randomly divided into four groups of six each after seven days acclimatization period. Animals in group 1 were not treated, while those in groups 2, 3 and 4 were administered 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg body weight of J. curcas extracts respectively for twenty-eight days. Administration was done 12 hourly via oral route. At the end of the administration period, the rats were sacrificed after an overnight fast under diethyl ether as anesthesia. Blood samples were collected via cardiac puncture. Testes and cauda epididymis were removed and kept in sterilized watched glass. Sperm quality and concentrations reproductive hormones were determined using standard methods.
Results: Administration of J. curcas leaf extract for 28 days resulted in decline in the sperm count, sperm motility and seminal pH, as well as the serum levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone. Sperm mortality and abnormality, as well as concentration of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) were significantly (P<0.05) increased when animals treated with J. curcas leaves were compared with those in the control group.
Conclusion: It is clear from the results of this study that leaf extract of J. curcas reduced sperm quality and adversely affects male reproductive hormones. Thus, men interested in child-bearing should minimize its use for treatment of ailments
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