Ameliorative Effect of Crocin on Sperm Parameters and In Vitro
Fertilization in Mice under Oxidative Stress Induced by Paraquat
Paraquat (PQ) is an herbicide that is genotoxic and cytotoxic for male germ cells. In this study, we
investigated the protective role of crocin (Cr) against the destructive effects of PQ on sperm quality and
Materials and Methods
In this experimental study, a total of 28 male mice (20-25 g) were divided into four groups: control, which received intraperitoneal (IP) injections of 0.1 ml normal saline per day; PQ group received IP injections of PQ (5 mg/kg/day); experimental (PQ+Cr group) received PQ along with IP injections of Cr (200 mg/kg/day); and positive control (Cr) received IP injections of Cr (200 mg/kg/day). In the last two weeks of the treatment period (35 days of treatment), 16 non-pregnant mice were stimulated to receive adult oocytes. At the end of the treatment period, after euthanizing the mice, the sperms were extracted from the epididymis of each mouse and prepared for evaluation of sperm parameters and IVF.
In the PQ+Cr group, Cr caused a significant increase in the average number of sperms and the mean percent- age of motile and viable sperms. There was a significant decrease in the mean number of immature and DNA-damaged sperms compared to the PQ group (P<0.001). IVF evaluation in the PQ+Cr group showed that the mean percentage of fertilization, two- and four-cell embryos, blastocysts, and hatched embryos significantly increased. Cr caused a significant decrease in the mean percentage of the arrested embryos compared to the PQ group (P<0.001). However, the Cr group did not have any toxic effects on sperm quality or IVF results.
The findings of this study showed that Cr, due to its effective and potent antioxidant properties, could reduce or suppress the destructive effects on sperm parameters and IVF caused by PQ.