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.
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