Momordica charantia plant is quite common in Africa and Asia, known in folkloric medicine to affect adversely the reproductive system by mechanism yet to be fully understood. The aim is to determine the effects of M. charantia with and without testosterone administration; on hormonal levels and sperm production (number and motility) in rats. Thirty male Sprague-Dawley rats were used, divided randomly into six groups (MC, TP-MC, MC-TP, MC+TP, TP and DW for group I, II, III, IV, V and VI, respectively). Groups I to V were fed daily for 16 weeks, with either 50 mg/100 g body weight (b.w) /day M. charantia seed extract (MC) or intramuscularly injected with 0.05 mg/kg b.w testosterone propionate (TP) thrice/week. Group VI (negative control) were administered daily with distilled water (DW). Serum gonadotrophins, prolactin and testosterone concentrations and sperm production were measured. M. charantia extract resulted in significant reduction in serum gonadotrophins and testosterone concentrations, with an increase in prolactin level. Sperm production was decreased significantly compared to control. It produced responses that were rather modulatory when concurrently administered with TP. M. charantia seed extract suppresses the pituitary-testicular axis and sperm production in male rats. Thus, it could be developed to a contraceptive drug for men.
Key words: Momordica charantia, testosterone, prolactin, gonadotrophins.
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