Effect of chronic treatment with three varieties of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on reproductive parameters and DNA quantification in adult male rats
The aim of this study was to evaluate the chronic effect of different varieties of Lepidium meyenii (Red Maca, Yellow Maca and Black Maca). Male rats were treated by gavage with aqueous extract of each variety of maca equivalent to 1 g hypocotyl kg(-1) body weight (BW) for 84 days. At the end of the treatment, daily sperm production (DSP), epididymal sperm count (ESC) and sperm count in vas deferens (SCVD) were assessed. In addition, testis DNA quantification was also determined. Any toxic effect was assessed in liver and spleen by histological studies. The results indicate that Yellow Maca and Black Maca improved ESC and that three varieties of maca increased the SCVD without affecting DSP. Moreover, testis DNA levels were not affected by treatment with any of the three varieties of maca. Histological picture of the liver in animals treated with the three varieties of maca was similar to that observed in controls. In conclusion, Yellow and Black Maca increased epididymal sperm count after 84 days of treatment without affecting DSP. Maca seems to act as a modulator of sperm count at the reproductive tract level.
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