Pausinylstalia yohimbe Affects Reproductive Hormones, Estrus Cycle and Folliculogenesis in Adult Female Rats

Louis Chukwuemeka Ajonuma, Adebisi Saka Bamiro, Latifat Salau, Grace Adeyemi Umoren, Innocent Ikechukwu Okoye, Samira Lobo Makonjuola


Pausinystalia yohimbe (P. yohimbe) has long been used by West African tribes, as an aphrodisiac among men and for the treatment of erectile dysfunctions in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. More recently, women use it to enhance arousal and libido while infertile women use it to improve chances of conceiving. However, there are no studies on the effects of P. yohimbe on female reproduction. Therefore, this study examined its effects on reproductive hormones and organs, estrus cycle and folliculogenesis in adult female rats.Eighteen adult female Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were randomly allocated into three groups. Group A was the control while groups B and C served as the treatment groups. Group A received 0.5ml normal saline daily while groups B and C received 150mg/kg and 300mg/kg body weights of aqueous extracts of P. yohimbe respectively via oral gavages for 6 weeks. Vaginal smear of the rats were taken daily for 4 weeks after the first week of drug administration to determine their estrous cycles. After six weeks, rats were sacrificed and sera obtained from the rats were assayed for sex steroid hormones; Estradiol (E2) and Progesterone and gonadotropic hormones; Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). Ovaries and uteri were removed for histological processing and antral follicle counting.Estrous cycle was irregular in groups B and C. Serum hormonal levels of E2, Progesterone, FSH and LH for the test groups differed from those of the controls were not significant. Follicles including corpus lutea were significantly decreased and tissue destruction as well as necrosis were observed in some areas of the ovaries and uteri of groups B and C.P. yohimbe despite its usefulness in enhancing arousal and libido in females, it affects reproductive hormones, estrous cycle and folliculogenesis. Its prolonged use may lead to reduced reproductive functions and negatively affect fertility.

Keywords: Estrus cycle, Folliculogenesis, Pausinylstalia yohimbe, Rats, Reproductive hormones

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