EFFECTS OF PHOENIX DACTYLIFERAON SOME REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS AND HORMONAL PROFILES OF MALE WISTAR RATS
Phoenix dactylifera (Date palm) belongs to the family Arecaceae and its leaves, barks, pits, fruits and pollens have anticancer, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activities. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, steroids, flavonoid, saponins and simple sugars.The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of aqueous extract of dry date palm fruit on some reproductive organs and hormonal profiles of male Wistar rats. Twenty (20) male Wistar rats were divided into four groups of five rats each. Group I serve as the control and received distilled water while three (3) experimental groups (II, III and IV) were treated with aqueous extract of Phoenix dactylifera at250 mg/kg, 500 mg/kg and 1000mg/kg body weight respectively orogastrically once daily for 35 days. At the end of the experiment, the Wistar rats were sacrificed using cervical dislocation andblood samples were collectedthrough cardiac puncture for hormonal assay [testosterone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH)]. Semen were collected from right epididymis and counted; smears were made and stained with cresyl violent and fuelgen stain for sperm morphology.The testes, left epididymis, seminal vesicles and prostate glands were dissected, weighed and processed for light microscopic study;Morphometric analysis wasperformed to measure seminiferous tubular diameter, size of interstices and epididymal epithelial thickness.The result showed significant decrease in serum testosterone levels,sperm count, sperm motility and spermmorphology with decrease in size of interstices and epididymal epithelial thickness, distortion of spermatogenic cells, epididymal epithelium and prostate gland with degeneration of Leydig cells in rats treated with Phoenix dactylifera extract as compared to that of the controlat P≤0.05with no effect on FSH and LH. In conclusion, the aqueous extract of dry date palm fruit have the potentials of causing infertility in male Wistar rats by affecting Leydig cells, thereby decreasing serum testosterone levels, sperm count, motility and morphology.