Effect of Mucuna pruriens (Linn.) on mitochondrial dysfunction and DNA damage in epididymal sperm of streptozotocin induced diabetic rat

J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Jan 9;145(1):32-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.10.030. Epub 2012 Oct 26.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Mucuna pruriens Linn. (M. pruriens) is a leguminous plant that has been recognized as an herbal medicine for improving fertility and related disorders in the Indian traditional system of medicine, however without proper scientific validations.

Aim of the study: To study the effect of ethanolic seed extract of M. pruriens on mitochondrial dysfunction and the DNA damage in hyperglycemic rat epididymal spermatozoa.

Materials and methods: Male Wistar albino rats were divided as control (Sham), diabetes induced [streptozotocin 60 mg/kg of body weight (b.w.) in 0.1M citrate buffer] (STZ), diabetic rats administered with 200mg/kg b.w. of extract (STZ+MP) and normal rats administered with 200mg/kg b.w. of extract (Sham+MP). M. pruriens was administered (gavage) once daily for a period of 60 days. On 60th day animals were sacrificed by cervical dislocation sperm were collected from epididymis and subjected various analysis like antioxidants, ROS, lipid peroxidation (LPO), DNA damage, chromosomal integrity and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP).

Results: Significant reduction in the sperm count, motility, viability and significant increase in the number of abnormal sperm in STZ compared to sham was noticed. STZ rat sperm showed significant increase in LPO and DNA damage. Both the enzymic and non-enzymic were decreased; MMP and the mitochondrial functions were severely affected in STZ group. The diabetic rats supplemented with M. pruriens showed a remarkable recovery in antioxidant levels and reduced LPO with well preserved sperm DNA. MMP and mitochondrial function test were also preserved in STZ+MP rat sperm.

Conclusion: The present study has clearly demonstrated the potency of M. pruriens to reduce the diabetic induced sperm damage induced by oxidative stress (OS). These observations are encouraging to perform similar studies in human.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / physiopathology
  • Epididymis / metabolism
  • Epididymis / physiopathology
  • Ethanol / chemistry
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mucuna / chemistry*
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects*
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Ethanol