The present investigation was undertaken to assess the role of Mucuna pruriens in infertile men who were under psychological stress. Study included 60 subjects who were undergoing infertility screening and were found to be suffering from psychological stress, assessed on the basis of a questionnaire and elevated serum cortisol levels. Age-matched 60 healthy men having normal semen parameters and who had previously initiated at least one pregnancy were included as controls. Infertile subjects were administered with M. pruriens seed powder (5 g day(-1)) orally. For carrying out morphological and biochemical analysis, semen samples were collected twice, first before starting treatment and second after 3 months of treatment. The results demonstrated decreased sperm count and motility in subjects who were under psychological stress. Moreover, serum cortisol and seminal plasma lipid peroxide levels were also found elevated along with decreased seminal plasma glutathione (GSH) and ascorbic acid contents and reduced superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase activity. Treatment with M. pruriens significantly ameliorated psychological stress and seminal plasma lipid peroxide levels along with improved sperm count and motility. Treatment also restored the levels of SOD, catalase, GSH and ascorbic acid in seminal plasma of infertile men. On the basis of results of the present study, it may be concluded that M. pruriens not only reactivates the anti-oxidant defense system of infertile men but it also helps in the management of stress and improves semen quality.
Keywords: Mucuna pruriens; antioxidants; lipid peroxides; male infertility; psychological stress.