Background: The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effect of Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) on fertility of male laboratory mouse.
Study design: Mice of the Parkes (P) strain were orally administered Brahmi (250 mg/kg body weight/day, for 28 and 56 days), and effect of the treatment on reproductive organs and fertility was investigated. Recovery and toxicological studies were also carried out.
Results: The treatment caused reduction in motility, viability, morphology, and number of spermatozoa in cauda epididymidis. Histologically, testes in mice treated with the plant extract showed alterations in the seminiferous tubules, and the alterations included intraepithelial vacuolation, loosening of germinal epithelium, exfoliation of germ cells and occurrence of giant cells. In severe cases, the tubules were lined by only Sertoli cells or Sertoli cells, spermatogonia and spermatocytes. Significant reductions were also noted in height of the germinal epithelium and diameter of the seminiferous tubules in Brahmi-treated mice compared to controls. Epididymis in treated males showed slight alterations in histological appearance. The treatment had no effect on levels of testosterone, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase and creatinine in blood serum, hematological parameters and on liver and kidney histoarchitecture. In Brahmi-treated males, libido remained unaffected, but fertility was notably suppressed. The alterations caused in the above reproductive endpoints by the plant extract were reversible, and by 56 days of treatment withdrawal, the parameters recovered to control levels.
Conclusions: The results in P mice thus suggest that Brahmi treatment causes reversible suppression of spermatogenesis and fertility, without producing apparent toxic effects.