Ovarian and uterine functions in female albino rats fed dietary meal supplemented with Mucuna pruriens (L.) DC. seed powder

  • JS Ashidi
  • FO Owagboriaye
  • OI Lawal
  • PJ Houghton
  • T Efferth
Keywords: Fertility, Oestradiol, Ovary, Mucuna pruriens, Reproductive hormones, Steroidogenic enzyme, Uterus


Background: While the reproduction-enhancing property of Mucuna pruriens (MP) seed has been widely studied in males, little is known about this property in females despite the rate at which the seed is consumed by both sexes worldwide.

Objective: To determine the effect of MP seed powder in dietary inclusion on ovarian and uterine functions of adult female albino rats.

Methods: The rats were randomised into four groups. Group 1 (Control) was given standard rat chow (15g of feed/rat/day only) while groups 2, 3 and 4 were fed diets supplemented with MP seed powder at 0.75 g, 1.5g and 2.25g/day, respectively, for 12 weeks. Serum levels of oestradiol, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinising hormone, ovarian Δ5, 3β- hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (Δ5, 3β-HSD) and 17 β hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17β-HSD) activities, ovarian and uterine peroxidase and tissue cytoarchitectural structures were used as diagnostic markers of reproductive function.

Results: Significant increases in the serum level of all hormones including ovarian Δ5, 3β-HSD, 17β-HSD activities, ovarian and uterine peroxidase activities, and improvement of the ovarian and uterine cytoarchitectural integrity of the rats fed MP at 0.75g/day compared to other groups were observed. However, MP at 2.25g/day induced reproductive dysfunction characterised by significant reductions in hormones, uterine and ovarian enzyme activities, severe degenerative cytoarchitectural lesions in tissues.

Conclusions: MP seed improves uterine and ovarian functions at a dose level of 0.75g/day, but a higher dose value may be toxic.


Akinola OI, Fabanwo KA, Akinoso OA. Semen quality in male partners of infertile couple in Lagos State, Nigeria. Int J Trop Med 2010; 5: 37-39.

Sofowora A. Medicinal and Traditional Medicine in Africa. 6th Edition. Chichester John Wiley and Sons, New York. 1993.p. 285-286.

Agbafor KN, Nwachukwu, N. Phytochemical analysis and antioxidant property of leaf extracts of Vitex doniana and Mucuna pruriens. Biochem Res Inter 2011; Article ID 459839. https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/459839

Alo MN, Okeh OC, Anyim C, Orji JO. The effects of ethanol extract of Mucuna pruriens leaves on aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase in albino rats. J Nat Prod Plt Res 2012; 2: 465-470.

Misbah NF, Maroo H, Cham M, Pezzoli G, Walker R, Cilia R. Could Mucuna pruriens be the answer to Parkinson's disease management in sub-Saharan Africa and other low-income countries worldwide? Parkinsonism and Related Disorders 2020; 73: 3-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.parkreldis.2020.03.002

Choowong-in P, Sattayasai J, Boonchoong P, Poodendaen C, Wu ATH, Tangsrisakda N, et al. Protective effects of Thai Mucuna pruriens (L.) DC. var. pruriens seeds on sexual behaviors and essential reproductive markers in chronic unpredictable mild stress mice. J Tradit Complement Med 2021. [In press] https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2021.12.001

Majekodunmi SO, Oyagbemi AA, Umukoro S, Odeku OA. Evaluation of the anti-diabetic properties of Mucuna pruriens seed extract. Asian Pac J Trop Med 2011; 4: 632-636. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1995-7645(11)60161-2

Uma S, Gurumoorthi P. Dietary antioxidant activities in different germplasms of Mucuna. J Med Food 2013; 16: 618-624. https://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2012.2697

Obogwu MB, Akindele AJ, Adeyemi OO. Hepatoprotective and in vivo antioxidant activities of the hydroethanolic leaf extract of Mucuna pruriens (Fabaceae) in antitubercular drugs and alcohol models. Chin J Nat Med 2014; 12: 273-283. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1875-5364(14)60054-6

Ahmad MK, Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, Islam N, Jaiswar SP, Ahmad S. Effect of Mucuna pruriens on semen profile and biochemical parameters in seminal plasma of infertile men. Fertility and sterility 2008; 90: 627-635.

Ashidi JS, Owagboriaye FO, Yaya FB, Payne DE, Lawal OI, Owa SO. Assessment of reproductive function in male albino rat fed dietary meal supplemented with Mucuna pruriens seed powder. Heliyon 2019; 5: 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e02716

Taylor D. Small Pet Handbook. Harper Collins Limited. London, Great Britain 2002.

Harborne JB. Phytochemical methods. A guide to modern technique of plant analysis Chapman and Hall publishers, London 1973; 51-59.

Alqethami A, Aldhebiani AY. Medicinal plants used in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Phytochemical screening. Saudi J Biol Sci 2021; 28: 805-812. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2020.11.013

Trease G, Evans W. Pharmacognosy. Briallene Tindacallan. 13th Edition. Macmillian Publishers. 1989.

Yang X, Zhang X, Zhou R. Determination of L-Dopa Content and Other Significant Nitrogenous Compounds in the Seeds of Seven Mucuna and Stizolobium Species in China. Pharmaceutical Biology 2001; 39: 312-316. https://doi.org/10.1076/phbi.39.4.312.5905

AOAC. Official Methods of Analysis. 18th Edition. Association of Official Analytical, Chemists International, Maryland, USA 2005.

Pearson VA. The chemical analysis of foods. 7th Ed. London, Churchill Livingstone, 1976; 3-4.

AOAC. Official methods of analysis of the Association of Officials Analytical, 17th Edition Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Airlington, Virginia 2003.

Lyttle CR, DeSombre ER. Uterine peroxidase as a marker for estrogen action. Proc. nafn. Acad. Sci., U.S.A. 1977; 74: 3162-3166. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.74.8.3162

Lowry OH, Rosebrough NJ, Farr AL, Randall R. Protein measurement with the Folin phenol reagent. J Biol Chem 1951; 193: 265-275.

Sinhasane VS, Joshi BN. Melatonin and exposure to constant light/darkness affect ovarian follicular kinetics and estrous cycle in Indian desert Gerbil Meriones hurricane (Jordon). Gen Comp Endocrinol 1997; 108: 352- 357. https://doi.org/10.1006/gcen.1997.6976

Deb C, Bora MC, Sarkar C. Measurement of hepatic parenchymal cell and nuclear volume in different classes of vertebrates. Anat. Rec., 1964; 148: 449-453. https://doi.org/10.1002/ar.1091480307

IBM Corporation. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, version 20.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp 2011.

Zitzmann M. Effects of testosterone replacement and its pharmacogenetics on physical performance and metabolism. Asian J Androl 2008; 10: 364-372. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-7262.2008.00405.x

Misra L, Wagner H. Extraction of bioactive principle from Mucuna pruriens. Indian J Biochem Biophys 2007; 44: 56-60. http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/93

Singh AP, Sarkar S, Tripathi M, Rajender S. Mucuna pruriens and its major constituent L-DOPA recover spermatogenic loss by combating ROS, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and apoptosis. PLOS ONE 2013; 8: 54655. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0054655

Ahangarpour A, Oroojan AA, Heydari H. Effect of hydroalcoholic extract of Dorema aucheri on serum levels of testosterone, FSH and sperm count in nicotinamide-STZ- induced diabetic rat models. Zanjan University Med Sci J 2013; 21: 22-31.

Hinshelwood MM, Demter-Arlotto M, Means GD, Simpson ER. Expression of genes encoding steroidogenic enzymes in the ovary. In Molecular Biology of the Female Reproductive System (J. K. Findlay, Ed.). Academic Press, London. 1994. pp: 129-145.

Odell WD, Swerdloff RS, Bain J, Wallesen F, Grover PK. The effect of sexual maturation testicular response to LH stimulation of testosterone secretion in the intact rat. Endocrinology 1963; 72: 452-464. https://doi.org/10.1210/endo-95-5-1380

Sun Y. Free radicals, antioxidant enzymes, and carcinogenesis. Free Radic. Biol. Med. 1990; 8: 583-599. https://doi.org/10.1016/0891-5849(90)90156-D

Anderson WA, Kang Y, DeSombre ER. Endogenous peroxidase: specific marker enzyme for tissues displaying growth dependency on estrogen. J Cell. Biol. 1975; 64: 668-681. https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.64.3.668

Gore-Langton RE, Daniel SA. Follicle-stimulating hormone and estradiol regulate antrum-like reorganisation of granulosa cells in rat pre-antral follicle cultures. Biol. Reprod. 1990; 43: 65-72. https://doi.org/10.1095/biolreprod43.1.65

Roy SK, Treacy BJ. Isolation and long-term culture of human pre-antral follicles. Fertil. Steril. 1993; 59: 783-790. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0015-0282(16)55860-9

Beltran-Garcia MJ, Espinosa A, Herrera N, Perez-Zapata AJ, Beltran Garcia C, Ogura T. Formation of copper oxychloride and reactive oxygen species as causes of uterine injury during copper oxidation of Cu-IUD. Contraception 2000; 61: 99-103. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-7824(00)00085-8

Original Research