Protective effect of Urtica dioica L against nicotine-induced damage on sperm parameters, testosterone and testis tissue in mice

Iran J Reprod Med. 2014 Jun;12(6):401-8.


Background: Nicotine consumption can decrease fertility drive in males by inducing oxidative stress and DNA damage. Urtica dioica L (U.dioica) is a multipurpose herb in traditional medicine for which some anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties have been identified.

Objective: The main goal is to investigate whether the U.dioica could inhibit nicotine adverse effects on sperm cells viability, count, motility, and testis histology and testosterone hormone.

Materials and methods: In this study, hydro-alcoholic extract of U.dioica was prepared and various doses of U.dioica (0, 10, 20, and 50 mg/kg) and U.dioica plus nicotine (0, 10, 20, and 50 mg/kg) were administered intraperitoneally to 56 male mice for 28 consequent days. These mice were randomly assigned to 8 groups (n=7) and sperm parameters (sperm cells viability, count, motility, and morphology), testis and prostate weight, testis histology and testosterone hormone were analyzed and compared.

Results: The results indicated that nicotine administration (0.5 mg/kg) significantly decreased testosterone level, count and motility of sperm cells, and testis weight compared to control group (p=0.00). However, increasing the dose of U.dioica significantly boosted motility, count, normal morphology of sperm cells, seminiferous tubules diameter, and testosterone in all groups compared to control (p=0.00) and testis weight in 20 and 50 mg/kg doses in comparison with control group (p=0.00).

Conclusion: It seems that U.dioica hydro-alcoholic extract administration could increase the quality of spermatozoa and inhibits nicotine-induced adverse effects on sperm parameters.

Keywords: Mice; Nicotine; Sperm parameters; U.dioica L.