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Molecules 2017, 22(12), 2162; doi:10.3390/molecules22122162

Thymbra capitata (L.) Cav. and Rosmarinus officinalis (L.) Essential Oils: In Vitro Effects and Toxicity on Swine Spermatozoa

Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences, University of Bologna, Via Tolara di Sopra 50, 40064 Ozzano dell’Emilia, Italy
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Bologna, Via Fanin 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy
Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via Giuseppe Campi 103, 41125 Modena, Italy
APA-CT S.r.l., via Sacco Nicola 22, 47122 Forlì, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 November 2017 / Revised: 4 December 2017 / Accepted: 5 December 2017 / Published: 6 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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Essential oils possess a variety of biological properties (i.e., antioxidant, antibacterial, and cytotoxic) that could possibly be applied in reproductive medicine, but their effects on spermatozoa are still partially unknown. The aim of the study was to describe the effects of Thymbra capitata (L.) Cav. and Rosmarinus officinalis (L.) essential oils on the main morpho-functional parameters of swine spermatozoa. Essential oils were preliminary characterized by gas chromatography and added with emulsifiers to facilitate diffusion. Experimental samples were prepared by suspending a fixed number of spermatozoa in 5 mL of medium with 10 different concentrations of essential oil (0.2–2 mg/mL, at intervals of 0.2). After 3 h of incubation, samples were analyzed for pH, viability, objective motility, and acrosome status. Results showed that the effects of the essential oils are concentration-dependent and that R. officinalis is well tolerated up to 0.6 mg/mL. T. capitata impaired the spermatozoa starting from the lowest concentration, with complete spermicidal effect from 0.4 mg/mL. The patterns of damage, confirmed by SEM, were different and quite distinct. As expected, spermatozoa proved to be sensitive to external stimuli and capable of showing different functional patterns, providing interesting insights to the action/toxicity mechanisms. The results of the present work represent the first step towards the systematic characterization of the effects of these compounds on spermatozoa. This kind of studies are necessary to strengthen the idea of future applications of essential oils in the reproductive field due to their antioxidant, antibacterial, or spermicidal properties. View Full-Text
Keywords: essential oils; Thymbra capitata; Rosmarinus officinalis; swine spermatozoa; in vitro cytotoxicity essential oils; Thymbra capitata; Rosmarinus officinalis; swine spermatozoa; in vitro cytotoxicity

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Elmi, A.; Ventrella, D.; Barone, F.; Filippini, G.; Benvenuti, S.; Pisi, A.; Scozzoli, M.; Bacci, M.L. Thymbra capitata (L.) Cav. and Rosmarinus officinalis (L.) Essential Oils: In Vitro Effects and Toxicity on Swine Spermatozoa. Molecules 2017, 22, 2162.

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