Royal jelly (RJ) has been shown to contribute its positive effects upon imbalance in the reproductive system. However, it remains unknown as to whether RJ has an anti-androgenic effect on reproductive parameters in a polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) animal model. Composition of RJ was assessed by phytochemical screening and the LC-MS method. Forty immature female rats (3 weeks, 40-50 g) were randomly divided into five groups (n = 8 per group), i.e., control, testosterone (T), T+100RJ (100 mg/kg/day), T+200RJ (200 mg/kg/day RJ), and T+400RJ (400 mg/kg/day RJ) groups. Hyperandrogenism was induced by daily subcutaneous injection of T propionate for 3 weeks, followed by oral RJ for 4 weeks. The T+200RJ group had a significantly higher follicle-stimulating hormone level, and significantly lower luteinizing hormone, testosterone, and estradiol levels in comparison to the T group. Malondialdehyde level and glutathione peroxidase activity were significantly lower, while total antioxidant capacity level was significantly higher in the T+200RJ group compared to the T group. Histologically, the T+200RJ group showed recovery of various stages of ovarian follicular development. RJ at 200 mg/kg/day for 4 weeks significantly improved reproductive parameters in PCOS rats partly due to its anti-androgenic effect through antioxidant action and probably due to modulation on estrogenic activity, which needs further study to evaluate its exact mechanism of action.
Keywords: LC–MS; antioxidant; immature rats; polycystic ovary syndrome; royal jelly.