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Andrologia. 2008 Dec;40(6):352-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0272.2008.00868.x.

Tropaeolum tuberosum (Mashua) reduces testicular function: effect of different treatment times.

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Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy and Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru.


Tropaeolum tuberosum Ruiz & Pavon, along with other several species, is an edible-tuber crop that grows in the Andean region. Folk medicine describes the use of mashua to reduce reproductive function in men. The present study aimed to evaluate the effect of mashua (1 g kg(-1)) on sperm production in rats during 7, 12, 21 and 42 days of treatment. The following parameters were assessed: reproductive organ weights, spermatid count and daily sperm production (DSP), sperm count in epididymis and sperm transit and serum testosterone levels. Freeze-dried extract of mashua had 3.7 g 100 g(-1) of benzyl glucosinolate. Mashua-treated rats showed a reduction in testicular spermatid number and DSP from day 12 to day 42; meanwhile, the effect of mashua was noted in epididymal sperm count after 12 and 42 days of treatment. In addition, epididymal sperm transit time was delayed at day 7 and it was accelerated on days 12 and 21 of treatment. No differences in serum testosterone levels were found between rats treated with vehicle and mashua after 42 days of treatment. Finally, mashua reduces testicular function after one spermatogenic cycle by reducing spermatid and sperm number, DSP and epididymal sperm transit time.

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