Molecules 2014, 19(7), 9502-9514; doi:10.3390/molecules19079502

Effects of Icariin on Reproductive Functions in Male Rats

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Received: 25 April 2014; in revised form: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 24 June 2014 / Published: 3 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Metabolites)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: The present study investigated the effects and potential mechanism(s) of action of icariin on the reproductive functions of male rats. Adult rats were treated orally with icariin at doses of 0 (control), 50, 100, or 200 mg/kg body weight for 35 consecutive days. The results show that icariin had virtually no effect on the body weight or organ coefficients of the testes or epididymides. However, 100 mg/kg icariin significantly increased epididymal sperm counts. In addition, 50 and 100 mg/kg icariin significantly increased testosterone levels. Real-time PCR suggests icariin may be involved in testosterone production via mRNA expression regulation of genes such as peripheral type benzodiazepine receptor (PBR) and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR). Furthermore, 100 mg/kg icariin treatment also affected follicle stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR) and claudin-11 mRNA expression in Sertoli cells. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels were measured in the testes; 50 and 100 mg/kg icariin treatment improved antioxidative capacity, while 200 mg/kg icariin treatment upregulated oxidative stress. These results collectively suggest that icariin within a certain dose range is beneficial to male reproductive functions; meanwhile, higher doses of icariin may damage reproductive functions by increasing oxidative stress in the testes.
Keywords: icariin; male reproductive functions; testosterone; Sertoli cells; Leydig cells
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, M.; Hao, J.; Yang, Q.; Li, G. Effects of Icariin on Reproductive Functions in Male Rats. Molecules 2014, 19, 9502-9514.

AMA Style

Chen M, Hao J, Yang Q, Li G. Effects of Icariin on Reproductive Functions in Male Rats. Molecules. 2014; 19(7):9502-9514.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chen, Maoxin; Hao, Jie; Yang, Qiaozhen; Li, Gang. 2014. "Effects of Icariin on Reproductive Functions in Male Rats." Molecules 19, no. 7: 9502-9514.

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