Effect of Black maca (Lepidium meyenii) on one spermatogenic cycle in rats

Authors

  • G. F. Gonzales,

    1. Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura, and Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences (Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy), Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
    Search for more papers by this author
  • J. Nieto,

    1. Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura, and Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences (Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy), Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
    Search for more papers by this author
  • J. Rubio,

    1. Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura, and Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences (Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy), Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M. Gasco

    1. Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura, and Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences (Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy), Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
    Search for more papers by this author

Gustavo F. Gonzales, Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura or Laboratory of Investigation and Development (LID), Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, PO Box 1843, Lima, Peru. Tel.: 00 511 482 1195; Fax: 00 511 482 1195; E-mail: iiad@upch.edu.pe

Summary

Lepidium meyenii (Maca) grows exclusively between 4000 and 4500 m above sea level in the Peruvian central Andes. The hypocotyls of this plant are traditionally used in the Andean region for their supposed fertility-enhancing properties. The hypocotyls have different colours. Of these, Black maca has better effects on spermatogenesis. The present study aimed to test the hypothesis that Black maca has early effects during a spermatogenic cycle (12 days) of male rats. For this, testicular spermatid, epididymal sperm and vas deferens sperm counts were measured after 1, 3, 5, 7 and 12 days of treatment with Black maca. Aqueous extract of Black maca was given orally by daily gavage at a dose of 2 g kg−1. In a spermatogenic cycle, compared with day 1, daily sperm production (DSP) was lower at day 7 (control), whereas with Black maca, the difference was observed at day 12. Epididymal sperm count was higher in rats treated with Black maca at days 1, 3 and 7, but similar to controls at days 5 and 12; similarly sperm counts in vas deferens was higher in rats treated with Black maca in days 3, 5 and 7, but similar to controls at days 1 and 12. From this, it is suggested that first action of Black maca was at epididymal level increasing sperm count after 1 day of treatment, whereas an increase in sperm count was observed in vas deferens at day 3 of treatment. Finally, an increase in DSP was observed after 7 days of treatment with Black maca. Testicular testosterone was not affected after 7 days treatment with Black maca. In conclusion, Black maca affects sperm count as early as 1 day after beginning of treatment.

Ancillary