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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 92-95  

Beneficial effects of low dose Musa paradisiaca on the semen quality of male Wistar rats

Department of Anatomy, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication4-Apr-2013

Correspondence Address:
Gabriel O Omotoso
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, P.M.B. 1515, Ilorin
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0300-1652.110035

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Background: This study aimed at determining the effects of administration of mature green fruits of Musa paradisiaca on the semen quality of adult male Wistar rats. Materials and Methods: The animals used for the study were grouped into three: the control group, given 2 ml of double distilled water, a low dose group given 500 mg/kg/day and a high dose group given 1000 mg/kg/day of the plantain fruits, which was made into flour, and dissolved in 2 ml of double distilled water for easy oral administration. Results: Significant increment in the semen parameters was noticed in animals that received a lower dose of the plantain flour, but those animals who received the high dose had marked and very significant reduction in sperm cell concentration and percentage of morphologically normal spermatozoa. Conclusion: Musa paradisiaca should be consumed in moderate quantities in order to derive its beneficial effects of enhancing male reproductive functions.

Keywords: Musa paradisiaca, rats, semen parameters

How to cite this article:
Alabi A S, Omotoso GO, Enaibe B U, Akinola O B, Tagoe C. Beneficial effects of low dose Musa paradisiaca on the semen quality of male Wistar rats. Niger Med J 2013;54:92-5

How to cite this URL:
Alabi A S, Omotoso GO, Enaibe B U, Akinola O B, Tagoe C. Beneficial effects of low dose Musa paradisiaca on the semen quality of male Wistar rats. Niger Med J [serial online] 2013 [cited 2021 May 11];54:92-5. Available from: https://www.nigeriamedj.com/text.asp?2013/54/2/92/110035

   Introduction Top

Musa paradisiaca (plantain) is a crop in the genus Musa and all members of the genus are indigenous to the tropical and subtropical countries. [1],[2] It has been cultivated for more than 4000 years, and its several varieties are staple food in the tropical regions of the world. [3] Musa paradisiaca promotes healthy digestion, improves affective state, helps in the retention of and serves as good sources of potassium, calcium, phosphorus and nitrogen, which build and regenerate tissues in the body, and is also a rich source of iron and vitamins, especially Vitamins C and E. [1],[2],[3] Green plantain is also high in total dietary fibre content, especially hemicelluloses, which is higher than in most fruits and vegetables. [4] The high fibre contents, particularly insoluble fibre, can lower glycaemic response by forming a physical barrier to enzymatic hydrolysis of starch. The leaves, roots and fruits of plantain have been a revolutionary breakthrough in the management of male sexual inadequacies. [5],[6]

Infertility is a public health concern in many developing nations of the world due to its high prevalence and especially because of its serious social implications. [7] Infertility has social, economic and personal effects, which go beyond childlessness, and women bear the major brunt of the burden. [8] It is a major cause of marital disharmony and separation, and personal misery in some other population groups. [9] The highest prevalence is in low resource countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. [8] Male infertility can be caused by poor penile erection, abnormal sperm quality and volume, abnormal ejaculation, among other causes. Researches into natural diets like plantain showed that its consumption by men could enhance some reproductive functions, and also alleviate certain reproductive dysfunctions. [6],[10] The aim of the current study, therefore, is to determine the effects of consumption of mature green plantain fruits on semen quality in normal adult Wistar rats.

   Materials and Methods Top

The study was carried out in conformity with the rules and guidelines of the Animal Ethics Committee of the University of Ilorin. Eighteen (18) adult male Wistar rats of average weight of 200 g were obtained and maintained in the Animal House of the College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin. The animals were kept at normal room temperature and food and water made available ad libitum. They were grouped into three, each group having six Wistar rats.

Preparation of the plantain flour

Green plantain fruits were obtained from a market in Ilorin, Nigeria. The fruits were cut longitudinally into chips of about 5 mm thickness and air-dried for 4 days after which they were grinded and made into flour. Two doses of the plantain flour were prepared: 500 mg/kg/day and 1000 mg/kg/day. The flour was dissolved in 2 ml of double distilled water, for easy administration.

Animal grouping

The animals were divided into three groups:

Group A: Control (2 ml double distilled water, p.o.)
Group B: Given low dose Musa paradisiaca (500 mg/kg/day, p.o.)
Group C: Given high dose Musa paradisiaca (1000 mg/kg/day, p.o.).

The treatment lasted for a period of 28 days. [10],[11]

Animal sacrifice

Twenty-four (24) hours after the 28 th day of treatment, the rats were sacrificed by cervical dislocation, and the testes and epididymis excised using a midline abdominal incision. The testes were immediately weighed and the left caudal epididymis transferred into sterile bottles containing 2 ml of normal saline for semen analysis.

Semen analysis: Sperm concentration

A modified method of Yokoi and Mayi [12] was adopted in counting the spermatozoa, with the aid of the new improved Neuber's Counting Chamber (haemocytometer). About 10 μl of the diluted sperm suspension was transferred to each counting chamber of the haemocytometer and was allowed to stand for 5 min, and thereafter observed under a binocular light microscope. [12],[13]

Sperm motility

The fluid from the caudal epididymis was diluted with Tris buffer solution [14] to 0.5 ml. An aliquot of this solution was observed under the light microscope. The mean motility estimation was reported as the final motility score for each sample, and presented in percentages.

Sperm morphology

The morphology of the spermatozoa was determined using the original dilution for motility, diluted 1:20 with 10% neutral buffered formalin. The sperm cells were categorized based on the presence of one or more abnormal features, such as tail defects (short, irregular coiled or multiple tails); neck and middle piece defects (distended, irregular, bent middle piece, abnormally thin middle piece); and head defects (round head, small or large size, double or detached head). Findings were expressed as percentage of morphologically normal sperm. [15]

Life-death ratio

Life-Death ratio was taken as, number of spermatozoa alive divided by total number of spermatozoa multiplied by 100. (No. of spermatozoa alive ÷ Total No. of spermatozoa) × 100

Statistical analysis

Data were analyzed statistically by application of Student's t-test, using the SPSS version 15.0 software and presented as mean and standard error mean (SEM). Values of P < 0.05 were considered to be statistically significant.

   Results Top

The plantain flour was well tolerated, with no signs suggestive of regurgitations after oral administration. There was a relative gain in weight in the treated groups, and the weight gain was more in the group given the low dose Musa paradisiaca (Group B) with statistically significant difference (P < 0.05), while the weight gain recorded in the high dose group (Group C) was lower than in Group B (P > 0.05) [Table 1].
Table 1: Weights of rats and testes following administration of Musa paradisiaca

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The semen parameters obtained in the treated groups showed statistically significant differences between the two groups given Musa paradisiaca (P < 0.05) [Table 2] and [Figure 1]. The animals administered with low dose of Musa paradisiaca had a slight increase in sperm count, which was not statistically significant (P > 0.05), whereas a high dose of Musa paradisiaca resulted in a significantly decreased sperm concentration (P < 0.05) compared with the control group.
Figure 1: Semen parameters following administration of Musa paradisiaca to Wistar rats. †Significant statistical difference between the low dose and high dose groups (P < 0.05) of all the parameters. *Significant statistical difference between the high dose groups and the Control Group (P < 0.05). **Significant statistical difference between the low dose group and the Control Group (P < 0.05)

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Table 2: Results of semen analysis

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The percentage motility increased in Wistar rats given low dose of Musa paradisiaca, but decreased slightly in the high dose group (P > 0.05) compared with the control [Table 2]. Administration of Musa paradisiaca caused reduction in the number of morphologically normal sperm, with a very marked reduction noticed in the high dose group ( P < 0.05) compared with the control animals [Table 2] and [Figure 1].

There was no significant difference in the Life-Death ratio between the control animals and the high dose group ( P > 0.05), but in the low dose group, whereas there was a significant increase compared with the control ( P < 0.05) [Table 2] and [Figure 1]. Sperm progressivity was reduced in the high dose group, but the low dose group had forward directional movement almost similar to those of the control group [Table 2].

   Discussion Top

Musa paradisiaca has been documented to have many beneficial effects in the management of several diseased conditions, including atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and thyroid dysfunctions [16],[17],[18],[19],[20],[21] and also offers protective effects on organs of the body, such as the kidneys, in certain clinical conditions. [22] Yakubu et al.[6] reported that plantain fruits can be used in the management of sexual dysfunctions, though the exact mechanism of action or how it enhances this is not known. Similarly, studies conducted on methanolic extract of Musa paradisiaca (MEMP) fruit [10] revealed that animal models with diabetic-induced testicular disorders can have the testicular damage reversed, when given MEMP. The precise mechanism of action by which MEMP does this is still unclear. Musa paradisiaca has hypoglycaemic effects in both normal and diabetic animal models, and this might be a reason for its ability to facilitate improvement in male sexual functions in diabetic animals. [10],[20],[23],[24] This is true when the mature green fruit of plantain is consumed at a moderate dose, as revealed in the current study, where consumption of Musa paradisiaca at a low dose led to improvement in the quantity and quality of spermatozoa in adult Wistar rats. Specifically, sperm motility was improved, with a very significant increase in life/death ratio of spermatozoa, and a progressivity very similar to that of the control.

In animals given a higher (double) dose of Musa paradisiaca, all the semen parameters investigated were adversely affected. Both the sperm count and percentage of morphologically normal sperm cells were significantly reduced (P < 0.05) compared with the control animals. A good percentage of spermatozoa observed had some of the abnormal morphological features listed below: Tail defects (short, irregular coiled or multiple tails); neck and middle piece defects (distended, irregular, bent middle piece, abnormally thin middle piece); and head defects (round head, small or large size, double or detached head). These findings would definitely negatively impart the normal sexual functions of the animals, thereby reducing their ability to fertilise an ovum successfully.

At a higher dose of plantain fruit, the percentage motility and Life/Death ratio did not significantly alter, but the forward directional movement was reduced when compared with the control. Nevertheless, motile abnormal sperm cells are not expected to perform the functions of successful fertilization, as do motile and morphologically normal sperm cells.

Conclusively, the mature green fruit of Musa paradisiaca improves semen parameters of Wistar rats at a moderate dose, making it a possible remedy for male reproductive dysfunctions in which sperm cells have been adversely impaired.

   References Top

1.Khare CP. Indian Medicinal Plants. New York: Springer Science Business Media; 2007.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Ghani A. Medicinal plants of Bangladesh: Chemical constituents and uses. 2 nd ed. Dhaka, Bangladesh: The Asiatic Society of Bangladesh; 2003.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Imam MZ, Akter S. Musa paradisiaca L. and Musa sapientum L.: A phytochemical and pharmacological review. J Appl Pharma Sci 2011;1:14-20.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Kirtikar KR, Basu BD. Musa paradisiaca in Indian medicinal plant. vol 4. Delhi: Rexiodical Experts Book Agency; 1991.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Grill LS. Ethnomedical use of plants in Nigeria. Benin, Nigeria: UniBen Press; 1992.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Yakubu MT, Akanji M, Oladiji AT. Male sexual dysfunction and methods used in assessing medicinal plants with Aphrodisiac potentials. Pharmacog Rev 2007;1:1.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Araoye MO. Epidemiology of infertility: Social problems of the infertile couples. West Afr J Med 2003;22:190-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Sharma S, Mittal S, Aggarwal P. Management of infertility in low resource countries. BJOG 2009;116:77-83.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Ola TM. The socio-cultural perception and implications of childlessness among men and women in an urban area, Southwest, Nigeria. J Soc Sci 2009;21:205-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Ojewole J, Adewumi C. Hypoglycemic effect of methanolic extract of Musa paradisiaca green fruits in normal and diabetic mice. Met Findings Exp Clin Pharmacol 2003;25:453-6.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Omotoso GO, Oyewopo AO, Kadir RE, Olawuyi ST, Jimoh AA. Effects of Aqueous Extract of Allium sativum (Garlic) on semen parameters in Wistar Rats. Internet J Urol 2010;7:2.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Yokoi K, Mayi ZK. Organ apoptosis with cytotoxic drugs. Toxicology 2004;290:78-85.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Omotoso GO, Onanuga IO, Jimoh AA. Effects of ascorbic acid on garlic-induced alterations in semen parameters of wistar rats. Trop J Health Sci 2011;18:55-8.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Sonmez M, Turk G, Yuce A. The effects of as ascorbic supplementation on sperm quality, lipid peroxidation and testosterone levels of male Wister rats. Theriogenology 2005;63:2063-72.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Saalu LC, Osinubi AA, Jewo PI, Oyewopo AO, Ajayi GO. An evaluation of influence of citrus paradise seed extract on doxorubicin-induced testicular oxidative stress and impaired spermatogenesis. Asian J Sci Res 2010;3:51-61.  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Mallick C, Maiti R, Ghosh D. Comparative Study on Antihyperglycemic and Antihyperlipidemic Effects of Separate and Composite Extract of Seed of Eugenia jambolana and Root of Musa paradisiaca in Streptozotocin-induced Diabetic Male Albino Rat. Iranian J Pharmacol Ther 2006;5:27-33.  Back to cited text no. 16
17.Mallick C, Chatterjee K, GuhaBiswas M, Ghosh D. Antihyperglycemic Effects of Separate and Composite Extract of Root of Musa paradisiaca and Leaf of Coccinia indica In Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Male Albino Rat. Afr J Trad Compl Med 2007;4:362-71.  Back to cited text no. 17
18.Su-min W, Geng-liang Y, Hong-yan D, Ting-mei P, Yang-li W. Effect of plantain seed on the lipid peroxidation in rats with hyperlipidemia. Chinese J Clin Rehabil 2006;10:19.  Back to cited text no. 18
19.Parmar HS, Kar A. Protective role of Citrus sinensis, Musa paradisiaca, and Punica granatum peels against diet-induced atherosclerosis and thyroid dysfunctions in rats. Nutr Res 2007;27:710-8.  Back to cited text no. 19
20.Singh SK, Kesari AN, Rai PK, Watal G. Assessment of Glycemic Potential of Musa paradisiaca Stem Juice. Indian J Clin Biochem 2007;22:48-52.  Back to cited text no. 20
21.Orie N. Direct Vascular Effects of Plantain extract in rats. Exp Physiol 1997;82:501-6.  Back to cited text no. 21
22.Vinaykumar T, Sunath MG, Suman L, Vijayan V, Sriniva-Sarao D, Sharmila AM, et al. Renoprotective and testicular protective effect of Musa paradisiaca flower extract in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. JITPS 2010;1:106-14.  Back to cited text no. 22
23.Mallick C, Bera TK, Ali KM, Chatter JK. Diabetes-induced testicular disorders, vis-a-viz germ cell apoptosis in albino rat: Remedial effect of hexane fraction of root of Musa paradisiaca and leaf of Coccinia indica. J Health Sci 2010;56:641-54.  Back to cited text no. 23
24.Pari L, Maneswani JU. Hypoglycemic effect of Musa paradisiaca in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol 1999;68:321-5.  Back to cited text no. 24


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]

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