Descriptive histomorphological evaluation of the testis and caudal epididymis following treatment with rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia) and sutherlandia (Lessertia frutescens) in healthy and streptozotocininduced diabetic rats
Omolaoye, Temidayo S.
Du Plessis, Stefan
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Objective: To evaluate the testis and the cauda epididymis after treating both healthy and diabetic rats with rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia), and sutherlandia (Lessertia frutescens), respectively. Methods: Ninety male Wistar rats were randomly divided into nine groups (n=10 per group). Fifty rats were randomized to receive tap water, 0.1 M citrate buffer, 2.0% fermented rooibos, 4.0% fermented honeybush, or 0.2% unfermented sutherlandia. Diabetes was induced via a single intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (STZ) at 45 mg/kg in 40 rats. The diabetic rats were randomized to receive tap water, 2.0% fermented rooibos, 4.0% fermented honeybush, or 0.2% unfermented sutherlandia. Rats were sacrificed after seven weeks of diabetic induction. Blood was collected for hormonal assay, while the testes and caudal epididymis were retrieved for histomorphological evaluations. Results: Diabetic rats treated with 2.0% fermented rooibos exhibited a significant increase in fasting plasma glucose (FPG) versus the vehicle group (P=0.002), and a 3.6% decrease compared to the diabetic control group (P>0.05). Diabetic rats treated with honeybush or sutherlandia showed 23.6% and 15.4% decrease in FPG when compared to the diabetic control group, respectively (both P>0.05). The diabetic control rats had a significant decrease in the percentage of histologically normal seminiferous tubules compared to the control group (P=0.049). There was 21.0%, 14.0%, and 5.4% rise in the percentage of normal seminiferous tubules in diabetic rats receiving rooibos, honeybush or sutherlandia, respectively, compared to the diabetic control group. The infusion control groups (rooibos, honeybush and sutherlandia) showed normal seminiferous tubules, presence of spermatozoa in the epididymal lumen, and had normal overall architecture. Both testicular and epididymal morphology were altered in the diabetic control group, but these disruptions were mildly ameliorated by rooibos, honeybush, and sutherlandia. Conclusions: The detrimental effects of diabetes on the histomorphological architecture of the testis and epididymis are mildly ameliorated by the infusions (2.0% fermented rooibos, 4.0% fermented honeybush, and 0.2% unfermented sutherlandia). Significance: Diabetes alters spermatogenesis and impairs male fertility. Development of diabetes resulted in increased percentage of altered seminiferous tubules of the testes with tubules showing atrophy and sloughing, and the caudal epididymal tubules displaying few spermatozoa and sometimes clear lumen. After the infusion (rooibos, honeybush and sutherlandia) treatment, these characteristics were mildly ameliorated. In diabetes, rooibos, honeybush, and sutherlandia may mildly improve the histomorphological architecture of the seminiferous tubule and caudal epididymal tubule, hence improving spermatogenesis.