Local Nigerian men use Auricularia polytricha (wood ear mushroom) growing in farm lands and dead woods to manage sexual dysfunction and this practice has been going on for ages without supporting evidence from scientific experiments. This study was to investigate the ameliorative effect of ethanolic extract of Auricularia polytricha on male sex hormones (FSH, LH, and testosterone), sperm parameters (sperm count, sperm motility, and morphology), and histopathological examination of testis using Streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats as a model.
The experiment included five groups of adult male Wistar rat, group A (normal control, treated with normal saline), group B (diabetic control treated with 65 mg/kg.bw of STZ), groups C, D, and E (treated with 250 mg/kg.bw, 500 mg/kg.bw, 1000 mg/kg.bw A. polytricha after inducing diabetics). At termination, homogenate was prepared for semen analysis using improved Neubauer’s hemocytometer, serum samples were used for hormonal assay with ELISA (enzyme-linked immune sorbent assay) kit and light microscope was used for histopathological examination.
Results revealed significant (p < 0.05) reduction in sperm count and motility in group B when compared to normal control, values in group C were not statistically significant (p > 0.05) when compared to diabetic control. However, groups D and E recorded sperm count and sperm motility that were significantly (p < 0.05) increased when compared to the diabetic control (group B). Morphological defects in diabetic control rats were significantly (p < 0.05) higher when compared to normal control but there was no statistical significance in group C when compared to the diabetic control, meanwhile values of sperm morphological defects in groups D and E were significantly (p < 0.05) lower when compared to the diabetic control group. All gonadotropic hormones considered in this research were remarkably lower at p < 0.05 when compared to normal control. However, these values were significantly higher in groups D and E when compared to diabetic control. Structural alterations in cytoarchitecture of testes as a result of sustained hyperglycemia were reversed in a dose dependent manner following A. polytricha administration.
Alterations in sperm parameters, gonadotropic hormones, and histology of testes caused by diabetes were regulated and reversed following administration of graded doses of A. polytricha. This reversal may be attributed to essential phytochemical and therapeutic constituents in A. polytricha which can be found useful in prevention and treatment of diabetes induced testicular dysfunction.