Toxic effects of Carthamus tinctorius L. (Safflower) extract on mouse spermatogenesis

J Assist Reprod Genet. 2012 May;29(5):457-61. doi: 10.1007/s10815-012-9734-x. Epub 2012 Mar 7.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of aqueous extract of Carthamus tinctorius L., also named safflower, on mouse spermatogenesis.

Methods: Sixteen adult male NMRI mice were used. Experimental group received Carthamus tinctorius L. extract at the dose of 200 mg/kg for 35 consecutive days and control group received only distilled water. Testicular histopathology, morphometric analysis and spermatogenesis assessments were performed for evaluation of the Carthamus tinctorius L. extract effects on testis.

Results: Histopathological criteria such as epithelial vacuolization, sloughing of germ and detachment were significantly decreased in Carthamus tinctorius L. treated mice (p < 0.001). Carthamus tinctorius L. extract induced formation of multinucleated giant cells in the germinal epithelium. Carthamus tinctorius L. extract also caused a significant decrease in seminiferous tubule diameter, seminiferous epithelium height and maturation arrest (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Carthamus tinctorius L. extract has toxic effects on mouse testicular tissue, and recommended to use it with caution if there is a reproductive problem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carthamus tinctorius / chemistry*
  • Epithelium / drug effects
  • Epithelium / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity*
  • Spermatogenesis / drug effects*
  • Testis / cytology
  • Testis / drug effects


  • Plant Extracts