The effect of an extract of Salvadora persica (Meswak, chewing stick) on fertility of male and female mice. (Short Communication).
This study investigated the toxic effects of an extract of Meswak from Salvadora persica for 30 days on the reproductive system of the mouse. The results showed that exposure to Meswak extract did not have much effect on female mouse fertility, although it caused a significant decrease in the relative weights of the ovary and an increase in uterine weights. Exposure of male mice to Meswak extract resulted in a 72% reduction in pregnancies in untreated females impregnated by test males. The relative weights of the testes and preputial glands were significantly increased and that of the seminal vesicles was significantly decreased in test males. The results indicate that Meswak has adverse effects on male and female reproductive system and fertility.
Key words: Meswak, Chewing stick, Salvadora persica , Fertility, Reproduction, Mouse
The use of wood sticks for cleaning the teeth is deeply rooted in traditional Arabian medicine and it was named Meswak (or siwak) which, in Arabic means "sticks for rubbing the teeth" (Hattab, 1997). Meswak is a product of the plant Salvadora persica which grows in different areas of the world including the middle east and Africa (Elvin-Lewis, 1980; Eid et al., 1990). It has been shown to contain trimethylamine, salvadorine, chloride, fluoride, silica, sulphur, mustard oil, vitamin C, resins and traces of tannins, saponins, flavonids and sterol (Farooqi and Srivastava, 1968; Ezmirly et al., 1978; Elvin-Lewis, 1982). These components have a variety of beneficial oral hygiene effects eg. trimethylamine and salvadorine have antibacterial, antiphlogistic and gingiva-stimulating effects (Hattab, 1997). However, they could also have possible adverse effects on various body systems since chronic use could lead to increased levels of these components in the body, due to swallowing with the saliva, as well as entering the circulatory system through inflammatory lesions in the gums in the process of cleaning the teeth.
Because these natural tooth brushes are so commonly used in different areas of the world by millions of people, a variety of studies have been performed on the antimicrobial effect of these sticks (A1-Bagieh et al., 1994; Al-lafi, 1995). However, to date no study has been carried out on the potential effects of Meswak on the reproductive system. Therefore, this study was carried out to investigate the effects of Meswak on the reproductive system and fertility of adult male and female mice.
* Materials and Methods
Animals and husbandry
Adult male and female Swiss mice were raised in the animal house unit in the Faculty of Medicine at Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) and were maintained in stainless steel cages (ten per cage) on a standard lab feed diet, under a controlled temperature of 21 [+ or -] 1.0 [degrees]C on a 12-h light/dark cycle.
Preparation of Meswak
Meswak (Salvadora Persica) chewing sticks were obtained from a local market in Irbid (Jordan). A voucher specimen of the Meswak was deposited at the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, JUST. An ethanolic extract was prepared by grinding the chewing sticks to a fine powder and resuspending in 80% ethanol. The mixture was left for 3 days at room temperature and then filtered using Whatman No 4 filter paper (Whatman Ltd., England). The ethanolic extract was then concentrated under vacuum, weighed and the residue was used in experimental testing. The extract was stored at 4 0C until needed for use and then freshly prepared in distilled water immediately before administration to the animals.
Administration of Meswak Extract
Male or female mice were randomly divided into two groups of 20. The first group served as the control and the second group as the test. Meswak extract (test) at a dose of 800 mg/kg or distilled water (control) was administered intragastrically using animal feeding intubation needles (Popper and Sons, New York) at the same time of day, for a total of 30 days.
Evaluation of the effect of Meswak extract on female reproduction and fertility
After 30 days, 10 female mice from the treated and 10 from the control groups were sacrificed and the body, uterus, and ovary weights were measured. The remaining 10 animals from both groups were used to estimate the effect of Meswak extract on fertility, as described previously (Elbetieha and Al-Hamood, 1997).
Evaluation of the effect of Meswak extract on male reproduction and fertility
After 30 days, 10 male mice from the treated and 10 from the control groups were sacrificed by cervical dislocation under light ether anesthesia, and the weights of the body, paired testes, preputial glands and seminal vesicles (stripped of fluid) were measured. The remaining 10 animals from both groups were used to estimate the effect Meswak extract on male fertility, as decribed previously (Elbetieha and Al-Hamood, 1997).
Data are expressed as mean [+ or -] S.E.M. Differences between control and test groups were analyzed using either Student's 't' test or Fisher's exact test using Minitab statistical package (Minitab Release 9, Minitab Inc., State College, PA, USA). A p value less than 0.05 was considered significant.
Effect of Meswak extract on organ and embryo weights and fertility of female mice
Table 1 shows that exposure to Meswak extract resulted in a significant decrease in body weight (p < 0.001) in comparison to the controls. There was a significant decrease in the relative ovary weight (p < 0.05) and an increase in the uterine weights (p < 0.005) in test females. There were no differences between embryo weights of both groups.
Table 2 shows that exposure to Meswak extract had no effect on fertility in regard to the number of females becoming pregnant nor on the number of implantations. The number of viable fetuses was slightly lower in the treated group.
Effect of Meswak extract on organ weights and fertility of male mice: Exposure to Meswak extract resulted in a significant increase in the relative weights of the testes (p < 0.05) and preputial glands (p < 0.005) (Table 3). There was also a significant decrease in relative weights of the seminal vesicles in test males (p < 0.05).
Table 4 shows that the number of pregnancies in females impregnated by test males was significantly lower than those impregnated by the control males (100% pregnancy rate in controls compared to 72% in test males) (p < 0.05). The numbers of implantations and viable fetuses were also slightly decreased in females impregnated with test males.
In this study we have demonstrated that exposure of adult female mice to Meswak extract resulted in a statistically significant decrease in the relative weights of the ovaries and an increase in uterine weights. The decrease in ovarian weight suggests direct ovarian toxicity, perhaps due to interference with estrogen secretion as a result of a disturbance of the reproductive endocrine functions (multiple sites of toxicity along the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian-uterine axis are possible). The increase in uterine weight needs to be investigated by histological studies in order to elucidate whether the weight increase is due to hyperplasia or hypertrophy of a specific tissue compartment in this organ. The results suggest an alteration of the reproductive endocrine functions which may lead to increased secretion of progesterone which is needed for endometrial alteration at the time of implantation and necessary for successful pregnancy.
We have also demonstrated a reduction in the fertility of male mice exposed to Meswak extract in that the number of pregnancies in females impregnated by them was significantly reduced. Furthermore, there was a statistically significant increase in relative weights of the testes and preputial glands and a decrease in the relative weights of the seminal vesicles. The change in the accessory gland weight might suggest an alteration in the pattern of testosterone secretion. This may explain the significant increase in the testes weights also observed in treated animals in this study. These effects on the male reproductive system reflects the effect on sex hormones. The size and activity of the preputial gland in rodents is influenced by a variety of steroid hormones (Ebling, 1963). This gland also produces behavior-modulating pheromones (Brain et al., 1983) which alter fighting and other behavior in the mouse. Exposure to Meswak might result in a profound effect on territorial aggression of male mice.
In conclusion, the results emphasize, at the doses used in this study, the adverse effects on reproduction and fertility of male and female mice of an extract of Meswak.
Table 1 Effect of Meswak extract on Female organ weights and embryo weights. Treatment Number of Body weight on Ovary females day of sacrifice (mg/10 gm B. (g) (a) wt.) (a) Control 10 34.57 [+ or -] 0.82 13.96 [+ or -] 0.70 Meswak 10 28.20 [+ or -] 1.30 *** 12.16 [+ or -] 0.42 * Treatment Uterus Embryo (g) (mg/10 gm B. wt.) (a) Control 39.01 [+ or -] 2.4 0.836 [+ or -] 0.4 Meswak 56.40 [+ or -] 4.5 ** 0.906 [+ or -] 0.12 (a)Relative weights Data are expressed as means [+ or -] SEM *P < 0.05, **P < 0.005, ***p < 0.001 significantly different form the control group (Student's t test) Table 2 Effect of Meswak extract on fertility of female mice. Treatment No. of pregnant females No. of implantations (a) Control 10/10 8.0 [+ or -] 0.60 Meswak 10/10 7.5 [+ or -] 0.57 Treatment No. of viable fetuses (a) No. of resorptions/ No. of implantations Control 8.0 [+ or -] 0.60 0/80 Meswak 7.5 [+ or -] 0.57 0/60 (a)Results are expressed as means [+ or -] SEM Table 3 Effect of Meswak extract on Male organ weights. Treatment No. of males Body weight on day Testes of sacrifice (g) (a) (mg/10 gm B.wt.) (a) Control 10 30.30 [+ or -] 2.45 71.26 [+ or -] 2.4 Meswak 10 27.99 [+ or -] 2.00 79.01 [+ or -] 2.5 * Treatment Seminal vesicles Preputial glands (mg/10 gm B.wt.) (a) (mg/10 gm B.wt.) (a) Control 92.9 [+ or -] 5.3 23.41 [+ or -] 1.40 Meswak 74.1 [+ or -] 5.6 * 29.06 [+ or -] 0.86 ** (a) Relative weights Data are expressed as means [+ or -] S.E.M. * p < 0.05 ** p = 0.005 significantly different as compared to control values (Student's t test) Table 4 Effect of Meswak extract on fertility of male mice. Treatment No. of No. of No. of pregnant No. of males females females implantations (a) Control 10 20 20/20(100%) 8.9 [+ or -] 0.31 Meswak 10 20 14/20 * (72%) 8.0 [+ or -] 0.85 Treatment No. of viable No. of resorptions/ fetuses (a) No. of implantations Control 8.9 [+ or -] 0.31 0/80 Meswak 7.9 [+ or -] 0.89 1/60 (a) Results are expressed as means [+ or -] S.E.M. * p = 0.05, significantly different as compared to control values (Fisher's exact test)
This work was supported by a grant from the Deanship of Scientific Research of Jordan University of Science and Technology No. 99/88.
Al-Bagieh NH, Iodow A, Salako NO (1994) Effect of aqueous extract of miswak on the in vitro growth of Candida albicans. Microbios 80: 107-113
Al-lafi T, Ababneh H (1995) The effect of the extract of the Miswak (chewing sticks) used in Jordan and the Middle East on oral bacteria. Int Dent J 45: 218-222
Brain PF, Homady MH, Mainardi M (1983) Preputial glands, dominance and aggressiveness in mice. Bull Zool 50: 173-187
Ebling FJ (1963) Hormonal control of sebaceous glands in experimental animals. In: Advances in biology of skin (eds Montagna W, Ellis RA, Silver AFO): 2000-2219. Pergamon Press, Oxford UK
Eid MA, Al-Shammery AR, Selim HA (1990) The relationship between chewing stick (miswak) and periodontal health. H Relationship to plaque, gingivitis pocket depth and attachment loss. Quintessence Int 21: 1019-1022
Elbetieha AM, Al-Hamood MH (1997) Long-term exposure of male and female mice to trivalent and hexavalent chromium compounds: effect on fertility. Toxicol 116: 39-47
Elvin-Lewis M (1980) Plants used for teeth cleaning throughout the world. J Prey Dent 6: 61-70
Elvin-Lewis M (1982) The therapeutic potential of plants used in dental folk medicine. Odontostomatol. Trop 5: 107-117
Ezmirly ST, Cheny JC, Wilson SR (1978) Saudi Arabian medical plants: Salvadora persica. Planta Medica 35: 191-192
Farooqi MIH, Srivastava JG (1968) The tooth-brush tree (Salvadora persica). Quart J Crude Drug Res 8: 1297-1299
Hattab FN (1997) Meswak: The natural toothbrush. J Clin Dent 8: 125-129
Mandel ID (1990) Why pick on teeth? J Amer Dent Assoc 121: 129-132
H. Darmani (1)
A.S. Al-Hiyasat (2)
A.M. Elbetieha (1)
A. Alkofahi (3)
(1.) Department of Applied Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science,
(2.) Department of Restorative Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, and
(3.) Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Author:||Darmani, H.; Al-Hiyasat, A.S.; Elbetieha, A.M.; Alkofahi, A.|
|Publication:||Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy & Phytopharmacology|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2003|
|Previous Article:||Antimicrobial activity of various extracts and carvacrol from Lippia multiflora leaf extract. (Short Communication).|
|Next Article:||Herbal Medicine: A Guide for Health Care Professionals.|
|A review on potentiality of medicinal plants as the source of new contraceptive principles. (Review).|
|Female companionship can boost male reproductive life by a fifth.|