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International Journal of Morphology

On-line version ISSN 0717-9502

Abstract

VALENZUELA-ESTRADA, Mario et al. Effect of Peruvian Maca (Lepidium meyenii) and Melatonin on Testicular Development of Mice Exposed to Continuous Hypobaric Hypoxia. Int. J. Morphol. [online]. 2014, vol.32, n.1, pp.70-78. ISSN 0717-9502.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-95022014000100012.

Hypobaric hypoxia (HH) is a decisive factor in human health in populations that reside at high altitude levels. Low oxygen rate affects most tissues and organs, including the testis. In humans, hypoxia stimulates angiogenesis, testicular blood flow and increases intrascrotal temperature which determines negative effects on sperm production. Our study researched the effects of HH in mice testicle. Mice were housed in a hypobaric chamber with a setting at 4,200 m above sea level during three different periods of hypoxia (8.3, 16.6 and 24.9 days). Control groups were housed at normoxic conditions (500 m above sea level). Hypoxic mice were treated with melatonin, maca plant (Lepidium meyenii) and melatonin and maca combination. The aim of present study was to determine if maca consumption protects testis against harmful effects of hypoxia and to determine a possible synergistic effect between melatonin and maca administration. In this article we have demonstrated that hypoxia produces a considerable decrease of seminiferous tubules diameter and lumen diameter. Moreover, seminogram showed a reduced sperm count, increased teratozoospermia and a reduction of DNA quality. The HH mice treatment with maca or maca-melatonin combination showed statistically significant improvement at sperm function parameters, and in the reduction of sperm morphology abnormalities and DNA compaction, in some cases attaining rates closer to those registered in normoxic mice. Our experimental data corroborates that maca consumption improves reproductive capacity of populations that inhabit high altitude regions.

Keywords : Hypoxia; Testis; Maca; Melatonin; High altitude populations.

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