Antagonistic effects of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides on the impaired reproductive system of male rats induced by local subchronic exposure to 60Co-γ irradiation

Phytother Res. 2011 May;25(5):694-701. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3314. Epub 2010 Nov 11.


Lycium barbarum, a famous Chinese medicinal herb, has a long history of use in traditional medicine as an antioxidant and to promote sexual fertility. Polysaccharides are the most important functional constituents in L. barbarum fruits. In this study, male rats were exposed to subchronic (60)Co-γ irradiation to investigate the effects of LBP on sperm quantity and motility, sexual ability, serum hormone levels, oxidative status and testicular tissue DNA damage on days 1, 7 and 14 of treatment. It was found that LBP significantly increased the sperm quantity and motility, shortened the erection, capture and ejaculation latencies, increased the number of captures and ejaculations, and improved the sexual ability of male rats. LBP also played a significant role in the recovery of serum testosterone levels, increased superoxide dismutase activity, decreased malondialdehyde levels, promoted oxidative balance and rescued testicular DNA damage. In conclusion, LBP has significant protective effects against damage induced by local subchronic exposure to (60)Co-γ irradiation, allowing rats to achieve near-complete recovery with LBP treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • DNA Damage / radiation effects
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / administration & dosage
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Gamma Rays / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lycium / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Reproduction / radiation effects
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism
  • Spermatozoa / radiation effects
  • Superoxide Dismutase / drug effects
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Testis / drug effects
  • Testis / metabolism
  • Testis / radiation effects
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • lycium barbarum polysaccharide
  • Testosterone
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Superoxide Dismutase