Objective: To determine the effect of lime juice on the estrous cycle and ovulation of cyclic female rats.
Methods: Twenty-five adult female Sprague-Dawley rats were used. The study was divided into 2 experiments (I and II). In experiment I, 15 rats were randomly subclassified into 3 groups (Ia, Ib, and Ic) of 5 rats each. The estrous cycles of the rats were studied for the first 16 days to establish cyclicity, after which lime juice was administered by gastric gavage for the next 24 days. Rats in group Ia received 1 mL of undiluted lime juice, rats in group Ib received 1 mL of 50% diluted lime juice, and rats in group Ic (control animals) received only distilled water. In experiment II, 10 female rats were used and were categorized into 2 groups (IIa and IIb), with 5 rats in each group. Rats in group IIa received 1 mL of undiluted lime juice during the morning of proestrus, and those in group IIb received only distilled water on the day of proestrus. The rats were killed the next day with use of chloroform anesthesia. The upper parts of the oviducts were excised and examined under the light microscope for assessment of the number of ova shed.
Results: There was an irregular pattern in all phases of the estrous cycle of 100% of the rats given undiluted lime juice and in 80% of those given 50% diluted lime juice. There was a significant (P = .001) reduction in the number of ova shed in rats administered undiluted lime juice in comparison with the control animals. Ovulation was partially blocked, as shown by the reduced number of ova observed in the oviducts from the rats given undiluted lime juice (5.10 +/- 2.37) in comparison with the control rats (12.70 +/- 1.14).
Conclusion: In rats, lime juice causes irregularity of the estrous cycle, partially blocks ovulation, and may possibly compromise fertility.