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Aim: The comparative effects of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) leaf and tuber extracts on the weight of testes and epididymes, epididymal sperm count, motility, viability, semen pH and sperm head abnormality in albino rat models was examined.
Place and Duration of the Study: This study was carried out in the Animal house of the Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, University of Calabar, Calabar and lasted for 65 days.
Methodology: Forty two male rats were randomly divided into seven groups of six rats each using a completely randomized design. Group A served as control and received only water and pellet feed while group B, C and D received 200 mg/kg, 400 mg/kg and 600 mg/kg body weight of the aqueous extract of Ipomoea batatas leaves, respectively. Groups E, F and G received 200 mg/kg, 400 mg/kg and 600 mg/kg of the aqueous extract of the tuber, respectively. Administration was done orally.
Results: Results obtained revealed a significant (P=.05) decrease in the weight of epididymes, sperm motility, sperm viability and sperm count while sperm head abnormalities significantly increased in animals treated the leaves extract. Meanwhile, the tuber extract had no significant effect on the sperm parameters of the animals. Also, no significant differences were observed in semen pH and weight of testes in rats treated with both the leaves and tuber extracts.
Conclusion: Comparatively, the aqueous leaves extract of I. batatas leaf had deleterious effect on sperm profile of male albino rats in a dose – dependent manner while on the other hand, the tuber extract had no significant effect on the sperm profile of the animals. Therefore, the consumption of the leaf of the plant should be regulated in view of its side effects as observed in this study.