The reproductive effects of saponin extract from Vernonia amygdalina Del. Asteraeceae 110192 leaves on 14 adult male Wistar rats was studied. The rats were divided into four groups (A, B, C and D) treated with graded doses (100, 200, 400 and 0 mg/kg respectively) of saponin extract of V. amygdalina over a period of 14 days. After 14 days oral administration of the saponin extract, the rats were sacrificed and their testicles removed through scrotal incision. Blood samples were collected periocularly into ethylene diamenetetraacetic acid (EDTA) sample bottles to prevent blood clotting. The result shows an enhancing effect at a higher dose with respect to sperm cell motility and concentration. However, the number of morphologically abnormal sperm cells was within the normal range of 10%. The packed cell volume (PCV) was slightly reduced in group C that had the highest dose (42.67±0.68%) of the saponin than for group A that had the lowest dose (47.0 ±0.24%) and (47.33 ± 0.47%) for the control group. For the morphological characteristics, there were dose dependent decrease in rudimentary tail, bent tail, curved mid-piece and bent mid-piece. In conclusion, the saponin component of V. amygdalina did not produce adverse effects on the reproductive potentials of the rats and can therefore be used to boost reproduction in male wistar rats.
Key words: Sperm characteristics, saponin, Vernonia amygdalina, rats, testicles, spermatozoon, Haematology.