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Cynara scolymus leaves extract alleviates nandrolone decanoate-induced alterations in testicular function and sperm quality in albino rats


Nandrolone decanoate (ND) is a commonly used anabolic-androgenic steroid. These drugs are illegally self-administered by athletes to enhance their sports performance. However, their abuse could influence the testicular function and fertility. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the possible protective effects of Cynara scolymus leaf extract (CLE) on ND-induced testicular dysfunction in rats. Five groups of adult male rats (10 rats each) were used. Group I rats received only saline and served as controls. Group II rats were injected with a vehicle once weekly, while group III rats received intramuscular injections of ND (20 mg/kg/week for 60 days). Group IV rats orally received 1 g/kg/day of CLE and group V rats received ND and CLE at the aforementioned doses. The results revealed that ND has a negative impact on the testicular function as evidenced by the significant increases (p ≤ 0.05) in testicular malondialdehyde concentration and serum non-prostatic acid phosphatase activity, as well as the significant decreases in serum testosterone levels, testicular weight, glutathione concentration, catalase enzyme activity, and total antioxidant capacity. These results were accompanied by considerable alterations of sperm characters and histopathological studies of the testicular tissue. However, co-treatment with CLE extract significantly alleviated (p ≤ 0.05) almost all ND-induced pathological alterations. In conclusion, co-treatment of ND-intoxicated rats with CLE ameliorated the toxic effects of ND on the testicular structure and function, probably due to its antioxidant activity.

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Fig. 1
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Anabolic-androgenic steroids


Cynara scolymus leaf extract




reduced glutathione




Nandrolone decanoate


Total antioxidant capacity


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The authors thank the staff members of the Biochemistry and Pathology departments, Beni-Suef University, for their help and advice. This work was funded by Researchers Supporting Project number (RSP 2019/ 121), King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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Correspondence to Eman Taha Mohammed.

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Mohammed, E.T., Radi, A.M., Aleya, L. et al. Cynara scolymus leaves extract alleviates nandrolone decanoate-induced alterations in testicular function and sperm quality in albino rats. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 5009–5017 (2020).

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  • Artichoke
  • Cynarin
  • Silymarin
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Antioxidants
  • Fertility
  • Sperm abnormalities
  • Testis