Background: Stanozolol (ST) is a synthetic anabolic-androgenic steroid often abused by athletes. An increasing body of evidence points towards the role of ST misuses in the pathogenesis of a wide range of adverse effects including reprotoxicity.
Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the possible reproprotective effect of royal jelly (RJ) as an efficient antioxidant in ST-treated mice.
Materials and methods: Adult male mice were divided into four groups (n=5). Two groups of mice received ST (4.6 mg/kg/day) via gavage for 35 days. RJ was given orally to one of these groups at the dose level of 100 mg/kg body weight per day synchronously. Untreated control group and RJ-only treated group were also included. Epididymal sperm characteristics and in vitro fertilizing capacity were evaluated after 35 days.
Results: ST treatment caused a significant (p<0.05) decrease in sperm count and motility and fertilization rate along with poor blastocyst formation and increased sperm DNA damage. Moreover, the incidence of apoptosis and abnormality in spermatozoa was significantly (p<0.05) higher in ST-exposed mice than those of control. The above-mentioned parameters were restored to near normal level by RJ co-administration.
Conclusion: Data from the current study suggest that RJ has a potential repro-protective action against ST-induced reproductive toxicity in mice. However, clinical studies are warranted to investigate such an effect in human subjects.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Embryo development; Royal jelly; Sperm; Stanozolol.