The effect of a crude ethanolic extract of dried pericarp of ripe momordica charantia fruit on some reproductive processes in male and female rattus norvegicus

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The reputed traditional claim of an alcoholic extract of the dried pericarp of M. charantia fruit, used as an antispermatogenic agent in the male and an inhibitor of foetal development in the female were evaluated in albino rats (Rattus norvegicus). The ripe pericarp of M. charantia fruits were dried, powdered, solvent (ethanol) extracted and concentrated. The concentrate was made into an aqueous decoction of 100% and 50% and both delivered at 400 mg/kg body weight by intubation to previously sired male and female rats in treatment regimens I & II respectively. In treatment regimen Ill, the rats were offered distilled water (placebo) to ascertain whether handling stress produced any physiological impairment in their reproductive processes. Animals in treatment regimen IV however, received no administration and served as controls. Gross histological examinations of the reproductive system after treatment of female rats showed that treatment 1(100% concentration), did not significantly affect folliculogenesis, ovulation and fertilisation (P> 0.05)/analysis of variance; no significant differences existed among the mean number of corpora lutea counted in females subjected to the treatments. However, it increased ova wastage and caused increased resorption of implants (P<0.05); significant differences existed among the mean number of resorption sites counted and total number of ova / foetal wastage in females subjected to the treatments. These females remained fertile after the treatment, but there was significant reduction in their average litter sizes compared with values obtained in treatment regimen IV (controls); P< 0.05. In the male on the other hand, treatment I caused total disruption in spermatogenesis resulting in failure in the production of spermatozoa. There was also alteration in the structure of the tissues of the seminiferous tubules. These males were subsequently unable to impregnate females of proven fertility after the treatment; significant differences existed among mean number of litter size of females mated to treated males P< 0.05. The decoction nonetheless produced no visible impairment in accessory reproductive structures and glands. Rats on treatment regimen II (50% concentration) had only modest alteration in their reproductive structures. Results obtained from rats on treatment Ill (placebo) showed that stress due to handling did not influence fertility of both the male and female animals. In conclusion, the study gives some credit to the folkioric use of an alcoholic extract of the powdered pericarp of M. charantia fruit as a male contraceptive for which further work needs to be done. The results also confirm the report that the preparation exhibits abortifacient activity in the female. However, it is not an effective contraceptive in the female as it is in the male.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Science in Reproductive Biology, 2000