The effects of melatonin on the testis, epididymis and sperm physiology of the Wistar rat

Gwayi, Noluzuko (2001) The effects of melatonin on the testis, epididymis and sperm physiology of the Wistar rat. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




Melatonin is a product of the pineal gland and is postulated to play an antigonadotropic role in the reproductive system of mammals. The reproductive system of non-seasonally breeding mammals is believed to be not as responsive to melatonin treatment as that of seasonally breeding mammals. Recently, there has been increasing support from in vivo and in vitro studies, for the hypothesis that melatonin has negative effects on sperm physiology, especially on sperm motility. High and/or low seminal concentrations of melatonin have been associated with abnormalities in human sperm motility and concentration. In this study, I examined the effects of melatonin on the testis, epididymis and sperm physiology, using in vivo and in vitro experiments, in a non-seasonally breeding mammal. Treatment, in vivo, with exogenous melatonin for six weeks did not inhibit testosterone production or spermatogenesis,. nor did it affect the mass of the testes and epi.didymides at dissection, the concentration the morphology of speimatozoa. However, melatonin in vivo had a small, but significant negative effect on sperm motility and sperm motility index. In vitro incubation of spermatozoa Fith melatonin reduced the percentage (%) of forward progressive movement (fpm), increased the % reduction in fpm, reduced the vigor or quality of sperm motility, reduced the sperm motility index, and delayed and/or prolonged the transition of one pattern of sperm motility to the subsequent patterns. Melatonin increased the pH of the culture medium, and the increased pH, and the ethanol utilized as a solvent for melatonin, both negatively affected all the sperm motility parameters that were assessed in my study. The effects of ethanol increased with time, and the effects of pH increased with both time and increasing pH. Melatonin in vitro did not inhibit capacitation and the acrosome reaction, but it delayed the onset and the progression of capacitation and the acrosome reaction. These results suggest that while melatonin did not inhibit spermatogenesis in the Wistar rat, it may influence sperm motility. Therefore, the presence of high concentrations of melatonin in the reproductive fluids may inhibit sperm motility. With further detailed research, melatonin may have a potential use as a contraceptive drug.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Melatonin, Rats, Testis, Epididymus, Spermatozoa
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology > Chordates. Vertebrates > Mammals
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Zoology & Entomology
Supervisors:Bernard, Ric
ID Code:3222
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:28 Aug 2012 09:06
Last Modified:28 Aug 2012 09:06
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