Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 159, Issue 1–3, pp 304–311 | Cite as

Protective Role of Cactus Cladodes Extract on Sodium Dichromate-Induced Testicular Injury and Oxidative Stress in Rats

  • Mbarka HfaiedhEmail author
  • Dalel Brahmi
  • Lazhar Zourgui


Cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) is a xerophyte plant that belongs to the Cactaceae family. The present study was designed to investigate the possible protective effects of cactus cladodes extract (CCE) on sodium dichromate-induced testis damage in adult male Wistar rats. For this purpose, CCE at a dose of 100 mg/kg was orally administrated, followed by 10 mg/kg sodium dichromate (intraperitoneal injection). After 40 days of treatment, the rats were sacrificed, and the testes were excised for histological, lipid peroxidation (LPO), and antioxidant enzyme analyses. Sodium dichromate treatment significantly (P < 0.01) decreased the body, testis, and accessory sex organ weights, sperm count and motility, and serum testosterone level. In addition, histological analysis revealed pronounced morphological alterations with tubular necrosis and reduction in the number of gametes in the lumen of the seminiferous tubules of sodium dichromate-intoxicated rats. Furthermore, exposure to sodium dichromate significantly (P < 0.01) increased LPO level and decreased superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities in testis. Interestingly, pretreatment with CCE significantly (P < 0.01) restored the serum testosterone level, sperm count, and motility to the levels of the control group. Moreover, CCE administration was capable of reducing the elevated level of LPO and significantly (P < 0.01) increased SOD, CAT, and GPx activities in testis. Cactus cladodes supplementation minimized oxidative damage and reversed the impairment of spermatogenesis and testosterone production induced by sodium dichromate in the rat testis.


Sodium dichromate Opuntia ficus-indica Testis Oxidative stress Glutathione peroxidase 





Rotations per minute


Tris-buffered saline


Phosphate-buffered saline


Reduced glutathione



This research was funded by the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research through the Research Unit of Macromolecular Biochemistry and Genetics, Faculty of Sciences of Gafsa.

Conflict of Interest

The author(s) declare(s) that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mbarka Hfaiedh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dalel Brahmi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lazhar Zourgui
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Research Unit of Macromolecular Biochemistry & Genetics, Faculty of Sciences of GafsaUniversity of GafsaGafsaTunisia
  2. 2.Laboratory of Research on Biologically Compatible CompoundsFaculty of DentistryMonastirTunisia
  3. 3.Higher Institute of Applied Biology ISBAM MedenineUniversity of GabesGabesTunisia

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