BACKGROUND: The Peganum harmala is currently used by the Jordanian populations systemically for its antispasmodic, diuretic, sedative and analgesic effects and externally for its antirheumatic effect.
OBJECTIVE: To study effects of Peganum harmala on the reproductive system and fertility using adult male albino rats.
MATERIAL & METHOD: A total of 20 rats were involved in this study and were divided into two groups. Group (A) a vehicle-treated control and group (B) a treated group with aqueous extract of Peganum harmala at a dose of 300 mg/kg body weight for 60 days.
RESULTS: This dose induces a significant decrease in the weight of reproductive organs (p<0.01) when compared to controls. The sperm motility and density in cauda epidydimides and testicular ducts were significantly decreased (p<0.01). Furthermore treatments have remarkably altered the histoarchitecture of testes. Spermatogenesis was inhibited at both primary and secondary spermatocyte stages. Epididymides showed reduced number of spermatozoa. Lumen of vas deferentia were devoid of sperms. The secretary activities of seminal vesicle and ventricular prostate were also reduced. Spermatocytes parameters were altered which included a significant decrease count (p<0.001). In addition counts of developing spermatocytes in treated rats showed a decrease in number of spermatocytes and spermatids (p<0.001) when compared to controls. Serum hormonal assay indicated a decrease in Testosterone and Follicular Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels in treated rats. A decreased in number female rats impregnated by males receiving treatment was observed and demonstrated by a decrease in the implantation sites and viable fetuses number (p<0.01).
CONCLUSION: The aqueous extracts of Peganum harmala might have adverse effects on the processes of spermatogenesis due to direct or indirect effects on somniferous tubules and or the pituitary testicular axis.