Partial ameliorative effect of Moringa leaf ethanolic extract on the reproductive toxicity and the expression of steroidogenic genes induced by subchronic cadmium in male rats

  • Samar S. Elblehi
  • Omnia I. El Euony
  • Abeer F. El-NahasEmail author
Research Article


The impact of Moringa oleifera leaf ethanol extract (MOLEE) was assessed on the expression of the steroidogenic genes (steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) and cytochrome P450c17 subfamily a (CYP17a) and luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR) gene) as well as on the cadmium chloride (CdCl2)–induced reproductive toxicity for 56 days in male rats. Four groups were used: control, Moringa-treated (MOLEE), CdCl2-treated, and CdCl2 + MOLEE groups. The reproductive toxicity of CdCl2 was confirmed; it caused a significant decrease in the accessory sex organ weights, testosterone level, testicular GST level, elevated MDA level (lipid peroxidation indicator), and histopathological alterations in seminiferous tubules, prostate, seminal vesicles, and epididymis as well as sperm characteristics. It also induced downregulation in the expression of StAR and CYP17a genes without change in the expression LHR gene. Eleven active compounds were detected in the GC-MS analysis of MOLEE; six of them have antioxidant properties, and five new compounds presented variable activities. MOLEE alone induced a stimulatory effect on the expression of steroidogenic and LHR genes. It restored the weight of reproductive organs to the control level; however, the recovery in sperm count, motility, abnormalities, percentage of alive sperm, testosterone, and MDA level are still comparable with the control level. Similar findings were also reported at the histological structure of the testes, epididymis, and accessory sex glands. Complete recovery of the GST enzyme activity was observed. Additionally, a restoration in the expression level of the steroidogenic genes was also reported. Our results indicated that the concurrent administration of MOLEE with CdCl2 can partially mitigate its harmful effects on male fertility.


Moringa Fertility Histopathology Steroidogenic genes CdCl2 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyAlexandria UniversityEdfinaEgypt
  2. 2.Forensic Medicine and ToxicologyAlexandria UniversityEdfinaEgypt
  3. 3.Genetics Lab-Animal Husbandry and Animal Wealth Development, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineAlexandria UniversityEdfinaEgypt

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