Protective effect of pumpkin seed extract on sperm characteristics, biochemical parameters and epididymal histology in adult male rats treated with cyclophosphamide

Andrologia. 2014 Oct;46(8):927-35. doi: 10.1111/and.12175. Epub 2013 Oct 11.


Cancer treatment with cyclophosphamide (CP) may result in reproductive toxicity as one of its side effects. The pumpkin seed is a rich natural source of antioxidant. We have assessed the possible protective efficacy of pumpkin seed extract on sperm characteristics, biochemical parameters and epididymal histology of CP-treated rats. Male adult Wistar rats were categorised into four groups. Group 1 served as control and received intraperitoneal (IP) injection of isotonic saline solution. Group 2 rats were treated with CP by IP injection in a single dose of 100 mg/kg body weight, only once. Group 3 and 4 received CP plus 300 and 600 mg/kg pumpkin seed extract respectively. Six weeks after treatment, sperm characteristics, biochemical parameters and histopathological changes were examined. Results showed that, sperm characteristics in CP-treated rats were significantly decreased. Biochemical analysis results showed that the co-administration of 300 mg pumpkin seed extract could increase the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) level significantly. In CP-treated rats, histopathological changes such as vacuolisation, disorganisation and separation of epididymal epithelium were observed as well. Interestingly, pumpkin seed extract could improve the above-mentioned parameters remarkably in CP-treated rats. Our findings indicated that pumpkin seed extract might be used as protective agent against CP-induced reproductive toxicity.

Keywords: Cyclophosphamide; epididymis; pumpkin seed extract; sperm parameters; total antioxidant capacity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cucurbita*
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Epididymis / drug effects*
  • Infertility, Male / chemically induced
  • Infertility, Male / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Seeds
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Cyclophosphamide