Nicotine-induced oxidative stress, testis injury, AChE inhibition and brain damage alleviated by Mentha spicata

  • Anouar Ben SaadEmail author
  • Ilhem Rjeibi
  • Noura Brahmi
  • Elimame Elaloui
  • Nacim Zouari
Original Article


Nicotine mediates some of the injurious effects caused by consuming tobacco products. The aim of this work is to investigate the protective effects of Mentha spicata extract (ME) supplementation on the testis and brain of nicotine-induced oxidative damage rats. ME extract showed interesting hydrogen peroxide-scavenging activity. HPLC–DAD analysis of ME revealed the presence of nine compounds among them gallic acid was the major one (165.44 µg/g ME). Thirty-two rats were randomly divided into four groups: control, a nicotine-treated group (1 mg/kg i.p.), a group receiving ME (100 mg/kg), and a group receiving both ME (100 mg/kg) and nicotine (1 mg/kg). After 2 months of treatment, the in vivo results showed that nicotine exhibited an increase in the body, brain, testis and accessory sex organ weights, sperm count and sperm motility. In addition, exposure to nicotine significantly (p < 0.01) increased acetylcholinesterase level (AChE) in brain, lipid peroxidation level in brain and testis as compared to control group. The antioxidant enzymes results showed that nicotine treatment induced a significant decrease (p < 0.01) in brain and testis antioxidant enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase as compared to control group. Interestingly, pretreatment with ME significantly (p < 0.01) restored the majority of these biological parameters to normal levels, as well as a histological improvement. Obtained results suggest that ME contains promising substances that counteract the nicotine-intoxication and can be efficient in the prevention of brain and testis toxicity complications.


Nicotine Mentha spicata Phytochemical HPLC analysis Oxidative stress Protective effect Rats 



This research was funded by the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education. We would like to express our special thanks to Unit of common services, Faculty of Sciences Gafsa, Tunisia.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anouar Ben Saad
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ilhem Rjeibi
    • 1
  • Noura Brahmi
    • 2
  • Elimame Elaloui
    • 1
  • Nacim Zouari
    • 3
  1. 1.Material Environment and Energy Laboratory (UR14ES26), Faculty of Sciences of GafsaUniversity of GafsaGafsaTunisia
  2. 2.Animal Eco-Physiology Laboratory, Faculty of Sciences of SfaxUniversity of SfaxSfaxTunisia
  3. 3.Higher Institute of Applied Biology of Medenine (ISBAM)University of GabesGabèsTunisia

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