First study of in vitro protective effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on frozen-thawed bovine spermatozoa


Background and Aim: Lepidium meyenii Walp (Maca) is an herbaceous plant that grows in the Peruvian Andes and it has been widely used as a nutritional supplement and fertility enhancer and has been used in the treatment of a variety of diseases, such as rheumatism, respiratory disorders, and anemia. The most notable feature of Maca is its potent antioxidant capacity, which helps in the scavenging of free radicals and protection of cells from oxidative stress. This study aimed to evaluate the in vitro effect of Maca extract on thawed sperm cells from bulls. Materials and Methods: Three dilutions of 1, 10, and 100 mu g/mL of Maca extract were incubated with frozen-thawed bovine semen and analyzed at 1, 3, and 24 h of exposure time, evaluating the activity of the extract on the DNA, motility, morphology, viability, integrity of the membrane and acrosome of spermatozoa. Results: The Maca extract improved the studied sperm parameters of motility, acrosome integrity, vitality, and DNA integrity of sperm cells at a concentration of 10 mu g/mL, and at 1 mu g/mL, an improvement was observed in the morphology and integrity of the membrane. However, the best activity of the Maca extract was observed on the DNA integrity of the sperm, which was effective at the three concentrations evaluated after 24 h of incubation. Conclusion: The results indicate that L. meyenii can help in maintaining spermatozoa cellular integrity after the frozen-thaw process, especially in the protection against DNA fragmentation. Therefore, Maca would be a feasible supplementation to protect sperm to maintain their fertile ability after thawing.



subject category

Agriculture; Veterinary Sciences


Leiva-Revilla, J; Rolon, M; Siyadatpanah, A; Pereira, MD; Nissapatorn, V

our authors


We thank Oscar Romero and Jorge Alfonso for their collaboration and comments on the statistical analysis and Natalia Ramirez for the English grammar of the manuscript. This study was partially supported by CEDIC's (Paraguay) own funds. MR and JLR would like to thank PRONII-CONACYT (National Incentive Program to Researchers of the National Science and Technological Council) (Paraguay) for financial support. MLP is grateful to Project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, UIDB/50011/2020, UIDP/50011/2020 & LA/P/0006/2020, financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC (PIDDAC) .

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