Original research article| Volume 82, ISSUE 4, P385-390, October 2010

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Spermatotoxicity of a protein isolated from the root of Achyranthes aspera: a comparative study with gossypol



      A previous study showed that 50% ethanolic extracts of the roots of Achyranthes aspera possess spermatotoxic effects.

      Study Design

      A 58-kDa protein (Ap) was isolated, and its spermatotoxic effects were studied in comparison with gossypol. Ap (25 mg/kg body weight a day) and gossypol (40 mg/kg body weight a day) were administered orally to Swiss male albino mice for 35 days. Sperm motility, sperm count, sperm abnormality, toxicity markers such as aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in the liver and serum, testicular activities of hydroxyl methyl glutaryl CoA reductase (HMG CoA reductase), 3��-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3��-HSD), 17��-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase(17��-HSD), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, cholesterol level and serum testosterone were assayed. Spermicidal action of the proteolytic digests of Ap was also studied in vitro.


      Treated mice showed significant spermatotoxicity. Significant differences were also observed in the testicular activities of HMG CoA reductase, 3��-HSD, 17��-HSD and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and in the levels of cholesterol and serum testosterone. The nontoxic nature of Ap was indicated by the insignificant alterations in the activities of AST and ALT. Ap possessed spermicidal activity even after proteolysis.


      The 58-kDa protein isolated from A. aspera possesses spermatotoxic effects comparable to gossypol.


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