Effects of anthocyanin extracted from black soybean seed coat on spermatogenesis in a rat varicocele-induced model

Reprod Fertil Dev. 2012;24(5):649-55. doi: 10.1071/RD11174.


Varicocele is the most common cause of primary male infertility and is associated with oxidative stress. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of anthocyanin on a rat model of varicocele. Twenty-four male rats were divided into four experimental groups: a normal control group, a varicocele-induced control group and two varicocele-induced groups treated with either 40 or 80mgkg(-1), p.o., anthocyanin for 4 weeks. Varicocele was induced by the partial obstruction of the left renal vein. After 8 weeks, the testes and epididymides from rats in all groups were removed, weighed and subjected to histological examination and semen analysis. Apoptosis in the testes was determined by terminal deoxyribonucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-digoxigenin nick end-labelling (TUNEL) and oxidative stress was assessed by measuring 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) levels. Although no significant differences in sperm counts were observed among the groups, anthocyanin treatment of the varicocele-induced groups resulted in significantly increased testes weight, sperm motility and spermatogenic cell density (P<0.05). Anthocyanin treatment also significantly decreased apoptotic body count and 8-OHdG concentrations (P<0.05). We suggest that the antioxidant effect of anthocyanin prevented the damage caused by varicocele-induced reactive oxygen species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology*
  • Color
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Seeds / chemistry*
  • Seeds / ultrastructure
  • Soybeans / chemistry*
  • Sperm Count
  • Spermatogenesis / drug effects*
  • Spermatogenesis / physiology
  • Testis / drug effects
  • Testis / growth & development
  • Varicocele / pathology*
  • Varicocele / physiopathology


  • Anthocyanins