Document Type : Original Article
Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran
Department of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran
4Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran
5Metabolic Diseases Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran
6Department of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran
Epididymo-orchitis (EO) potentially results in reduced fertility in up to 60% of affected patients. The anti-inflammatory effects of Korean red ginseng (KRG) and its ability to act as an immunoenhancer in parallel with the beneficial effects of this ancient herbal medicine on the reproductive systems of animals and humans led us to evaluate its protective effects against acute EO.
Materials and Methods
This animal experimental study was conducted in the Department of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences (ZUMS), Zanjan, Iran during 2013-2015. We divided 50 Wistar rats into five following groups (n=10 per group): i. Control-intact animals, ii. Vehicle-phosphate buffered saline (PBS) injection into the vas deferens, iii. KRG-an intraperitoneal (IP) injection of KRG, iv. EO-an injection of uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) strain M39 into the vas defer- ens, and v. EO/ KRG-injections of both UPEC strain M39 and KRG. The treatment lasted seven days. We then evaluated sperm parameters, number of germ cell layers, Johnson’s criteria, germ cell apoptosis, body weight and relative sex organs weight.
Acute EO increased the relative weight of prostate and seminal vesicles (P≤0.05). It also reduced sperm quality such as total motility, sperm concentration (P≤0.01), and the percentage of normal sperm (P≤0.001). Moreover, acute EO decreased Miller’s (P≤0.05) and Johnsen’s scores and increased apoptotic indexes of spermatogenic cells (P≤0.001). KRG treatment decreased prostate weight gain (P≤0.05) and improved the percentage of sperm with normal morphology, total motility (P≤0.01), and progressive motility (P≤0.05). The apoptotic indexes of spermatogenic cells reduced (P≤0.001), whereas both Johnsen’s (P≤0.01) and Miller’s criteria increased in the KRG-treated EO testis (P≤0.05).
Consequently, KRG ameliorated the devastating effects of EO on the sperm retrieved from either epididymis or testicle in rats.