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Arch Pharm Res. 2006 Feb;29(2):145-51.

Ginsenoside R(e) increases fertile and asthenozoospermic infertile human sperm motility by induction of nitric oxide synthase.

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Department of Medical Physics, Institute of Modern Physics, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China.


We investigated the effects of Ginsenoside R(e) on human sperm motility in fertile and asthenozoospermic infertile individuals in vitro and the mechanism by which the Ginsenosides play their roles. The semen samples were obtained from 10 fertile volunteers and 10 asthenozoospermic infertile patients. Spermatozoa were separated by Percoll and incubated with 0, 1, 10 or 100 microM of Ginsenoside R(e). Total sperm motility and progressive motility were measured by computer-aided sperm analyzer (CASA). Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity was determined by the 3H-arginine to 3H-citrulline conversion assay, and the NOS protein was examined by the Western blot analysis. The production of sperm nitric oxide (NO) was detected using the Griess reaction. The results showed that Ginsenoside R(e) significantly enhanced both fertile and infertile sperm motility, NOS activity and NO production in a concentration-dependent manner. Sodium nitroprusside (SNP, 100 nM), a NO donor, mimicked the effects of Ginsenoside R(e). And pretreatment with a NOS inhibitor N(omega)-Nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME, 100 microM) or a NO scavenger N-Acetyl-L-cysteine (LNAC, 1 mM) completely blocked the effects of Ginsenoside R(e). Data suggested that Ginsenoside R(e) is beneficial to sperm motility, and that induction of NOS to increase NO production may be involved in this benefit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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