Antifertility effect of Iranian neem seed alcoholic extract on epididymal sperm of mice
ABSTRACT Background: About 90% of the world’s contraceptive users are women. This gender-based usage has occurred due to the emphasis of family planning programs and contraception research. Condom, vasectomy and withdrawal are the only male contraception devices available with less assurance for men. For new male contraceptive to have an impact, they must be acceptable to both men and women, as well as effective. A hormonal method will likely come to the market within the next few years. It is necessary to use biologically active botanical substances or fertility-regulating agents of plant origin which are ecofriendly. Objectives: The epididymis is a site which can be exploited for male contraception without undue side effects. It was therefore of interest to investigate the effect of biologically active botanical ecofriendly plants such as Azadirchta Indica (neem) seed alcoholic extract as an efficient and competent male contraceptive on male mouse epididymis. Materials and Methods: In this experimental case control study sixty adult healthy mice divided into two groups of 40 as the control and 20 as the treated group. The treated group was administered by Iranian Botanical Azadirachta Indica seed alcoholic extract, cultivated at Dashteh Moghan (Ardabil province). The seeds was extracted with ethanol then administered first 50 mg/kg body weight /day then 100 mg/kg body weight/day orally for 15 days, following WHO guide lines (MB-50). The target organ, epididymis parameters viz. sperm motility, sperm count fertility rate, Scanning Electron Microscopic (SEM) morphology of spermatozoa and ATPase activity of epididymis of the two groups were compared. Results: The 50 mg/kg body weight (BW)/day showed no significant change in epididymal sperm motility, as compare to the control. Therefore the dose was changed to 100 mg/kg BW/day for 15 days. The body and organ weights (epididymis) of the treated animals were not significantly changed as compare to control group (p>0.05). The treatment brought about a significant reduction in fertility rate when normal cycling female mice were mated with treated males (p<0.001). Decline in ATPase activity in caput and cauda epididymis was observed (p<0.001). SEM photographs showed spermatozoa with abnormal head and bent mid-piece region. Conclusion: Decrease in ATPase activity could be attributed to androgen dependent parameters. However, the fertility rate was also significantly reduced which can be due to the decrease in cauda epididymal sperm motility and their morphological abnormalities. Since the effect on epididymal sperm motility and morphology was manifested in short period of 15 days, it is evident that the extract has potential as an antifertility agent. As this extract do not cause change in the body and organ weight, it is likely that no effect occurred on electrolyte balance.