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Aphrodisiac and androgenic effects of the aqueous extract of the roots of Vepris afzelii on cyproterone acetate-induced hypogonadism in rat


This work aimed to evaluate the effects of the aqueous extract of Vepris afzelii roots on a rat model of hypogonadism. Phytochemical screening and acute toxicity of the extract were performed using different procedures. Hypogonadism was induced orally in adult Wistar rats using cyproterone acetate (30 mg/kg) for ten days. Besides six normal rats (10 ml/kg of distilled water, normal control), 30 hypogonadal rats were subdivided into five groups of six animals each, receiving for 14 days: distilled water (10 ml/kg, hypogonadal control), testosterone (4 mg/kg/3days) and the extract of V. afzelii (100, 200 and 400 mg/kg). Sexual behavior, sperm parameters, testes function and structure were assessed. Compared to the normal controls, significant (p = 0.0000) increases in mount (24 ± 0.94 seconds vs. 1200 ± 00 seconds) and intromission (49.16 ± 10.85 seconds vs. 1200 ± 00 seconds) latencies, and post-ejaculatory interval (381.72 ± 37.55 seconds vs. 1200 ± 00 seconds) were observed in all groups receiving cyproterone acetate on day 0. Total inhibitions of mounts (63.50 ± 8.91 vs. 00 ± 00), intromissions (36.66 ± 3.51 vs. 00 ± 00) (p = 0.0000), ejaculations (2.83 ± 00 vs. 00 ± 00, p = 0.0002) frequencies and mean copulatory interval (627.30 ± 81.80 vs. 00 ± 00, p = 0.0000) were also observed in these groups. Moreover, decreases in daily sperm production (2.65 ± 0.19 vs. 1.17 ± 0.08, p = 0.0498), percentage of sperm mobility (78.64 ± 8.41 vs. 10.12 ± 2.32), serum testosterone level (8.39 ± 0.63 ng/dl vs. 1.68 ± 0.19 ng/dl), diameter of seminiferous tubules (111.97 ± 0.51 µm vs. 94.51 ± 0.57 µm) and height of germinal epithelium (46.58 ± 0.34 µm vs. 33.74 ± 0.66 µm) (p = 0.0000) associated with increases in sperm transit (3.13 ± 0.45 vs. 11.07 ± 1.45, p = 0.0000) were also observed in these groups. Interestingly, compared to hypogonadal control and day 0, the administration of V. afzelii extract induced significant (p = 0.0000) improvements in all these altered parameters with 400 mg/kg being the most active dose. These results, attributed to saponins, flavonoids, polyphenols and triterpenes detected in this plant’s extract confirm its traditional usage and could be useful for the management of patients suffering from hypogonadism.

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Fig. 1: Variation of sperm production in hypogonadal rats treated with the aqueous extract of V. afzelii.
Fig. 2: Progression of sperm characteristics in hypogonadal rats treated with the aqueous extract of V. afzelii.
Fig. 3: Evolution of testosterone levels in hypogonadal rats treated with the aqueous extract of V. afzelii.
Fig. 4: Microphotography of the testis (X100, 5 µm thickness, H&E Coloring) in hypogonadal rats treated with the aqueous extract of V. afzelii.
Fig. 5: Variation in the seminiferous tubule parameters in hypogonadal rats treated with the aqueous extract of V. afzelii.

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Data availability

The datasets analysed during this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.


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Authors are grateful to the Alexander Von Humbold Foundation for the laboratory material and equipment offered to one of the authors of this work, Pr Alain Bertrand Dongmo. The authors are also grateful to Jesse Forchap (Lead Biotech Production, Specialist at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Albany, New York, USA) and Dr Wandja Kamgang Vanessa (Department of Zoology and Entomology, Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria, Hatfield, South Africa) for polishing the language.

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WNM, DON and NZ developed the project. DON, KIT and HTD collected and analysed the data. WNM, DON, NZ, KBL and TMC did the literature review and defined the intellectual content. WNM and DON wrote the manuscript. WNM, DAB, MLD, MFP and WP did the manuscript review.

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Correspondence to Modeste Wankeu-Nya.

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The authors of this paper declare no conflict of interest.

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The protocol of this study was validated by the staff of the Department of Animal Organisms Biology and all the experiments were performed by the guidelines of the institutional ethics committee of the University of Douala as mentioned in the ethical clearance number 2906 CEI-UDo/08/2021/M delivered.

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Wankeu-Nya, M., Djeumeni, O.N., Nde, Z. et al. Aphrodisiac and androgenic effects of the aqueous extract of the roots of Vepris afzelii on cyproterone acetate-induced hypogonadism in rat. Int J Impot Res (2024).

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