Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 448–454
Effect of short-term and long-term treatments with three ecotypes of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on spermatogenesis in rats
Carla Gonzales, Julio Rubio ∗ , Manuel Gasco, Jessica Nieto, Sandra Yucra, Gustavo F. Gonzales
Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy, Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura,Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, P.O. Box 1843, Lima, Peru Received 6 July 2005; received in revised form 16 August 2005; accepted 18 August 2005 Available online 19 September 2005
Abstract Lepidium meyenii (Brassicaceae), known as Maca, is a Peruvian hypocotyl that grows exclusively between 4000 and 4500 m above sea level in the central Andes. Maca is traditionally employed in the Andeanregion for its supposed fertility-enhancing properties. The study aimed to test the hypothesis that different ecotypes of Maca (Red, Yellow and Black) after short-term (7 days) and long-term (42 days) treatment affects differentially spermatogenesis adult rats. After 7 days of treatment with Yellow and Red Maca, the length of stage VIII was increased (P < 0.05), whereas with Black Maca stagesII–VI and VIII were increased (P < 0.05). Daily sperm production (DSP) was increased in the group treated with Black Maca compared with control values (P < 0.05). Red or Yellow Maca did not alter DSP and epididymal sperm motility was not affected by treatment with any ecotype of Maca. After 42 days of treatment, Black Maca was the only ecotype that enhanced DSP (P < 0.05). Moreover, Black Maca was theonly that increased epididymal sperm motility (P < 0.05). In relation to the control group, Red Maca did not affect testicular and epididymal weight nor epididymal sperm motility and sperm count; however, prostate weight was reduced (P < 0.05). Black or Yellow Maca did not affect prostate weight. In conclusion, there were differences in the biological response of the three ecotypes of Maca(Yellow, Red and Black). Black Maca appeared to have more beneﬁcial effect on sperm counts and epididymal sperm motility. © 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Spermatogenesis; Maca; Ecotypes; Lepidium meyenii
1. Introduction Lepidium meyenii (Brassicaceae), known as Maca, is a Peruvian hypocotyl that grows exclusively between 4000 and 4500 m altitude at the central PeruvianAndes, particularly in Carhuamayo, Junin and is used traditionally to enhance fertility. A Chronicler of the Spaniard conquest to Peru, Father Bernabe Cobo referred in the ﬁrst half of the seventeenth century the ﬁrst description of the enhancing-fertility property of Maca (Cobo, 1956). We found that oral administration of an aqueous extract from the hypocotyls of Yellow Lepidium meyenii (YellowMaca) during 7 days (about 2 g/kg BW) increased length of spermiation stage (stage VIII) (Gonzales et al., 2004), whereas when the treatment was for 14 days, it increases lengths of stages in which ﬁrst mitosis occurs (stages IX–XI) (Gonzales et al., 2001). Furthermore, we demonstrated that Maca also enhances sperm
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count and sperm motility in normal men without affecting serum testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) or follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels (Gonzales et al., 2001a). Most of the experimental studies have been performed in rats administering Maca in periods of 7–21 days (Gonzales et al., 2001, 2004). The duration of the seminiferous cycle in rat is 12.5 days(Aslam et al., 1999). This means that studies did not cover two spermatogenetic cycles. After interruption of spermatogenesis by gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist (GnRH-A) treatment in the adult rat, the restoration of advanced spermatids (steps 17–19) occurred 42 days after termination of GnRH-A treatment (Hikim and Swerdloff, 1994). For this is necessary at least 42 days of treatment...
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