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Volume 2, Issue 2 (June 2000) 2, 103–109;

Human sperm immobilization effect of Carica papaya seed extracts: an in vitro study

N.K. Lohiya, L.K. Kothari, B. Manivannan, P.K. Mishra, N. Pathak

Reproductive Physiology Section, Department of Zoology, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur - 302 004, India
    Reproductive Medicine Clinic, 50 Gem Enclave, Malviya Nagar, Jaipur, India

Advance online publication 1 June 2000


Aim: To examine if the seed extracts of Carica papaya, which showed antispermatogenic/sperm immobilization properties in animal models, could cause human sperm immobilization in vitro. Methods: Chloroform extract, benzene chromatographic fraction of the chloroform extract, its methanol and ethyl acetate sub-fractions and the isolated compounds from the sub-fractions i.e., ECP 1 & 2 and MCP 1 & 2, of the seeds of Carica papaya were used at concentrations of 0.1%, 0.5%, 1% and 2%. Sperm motility was assessed immediately after addition of extracts and every 5 minutes thereafter for 30 minutes. Results: There were dose-dependent spermicidal effects showing an instant fall in the sperm motility to less than 20% at 2% concentration. Isolated compounds ECP 1 & 2 were more effective inducing a motility of less than 10%. Many of the spermatozoa became vibratory on the spot. Total inhibition of motility was observed within 20-25 min at all concentrations of all products. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy revealed deleterious changes in the plasma membrane of the head and mid-piece of spermatozoa. Sperm viability test and the number of abnormal spermatozoa after completion of incubation suggested that the spermatozoa were infertile. The effects were spermicidal but not spermiostatic as revealed by the sperm revival test. Conclusion: The results reveal spermicidal activity in vitro of the seed extracts of Carica papaya.

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