The Role of Antiretroviral Therapy on Testicular Integrity in the Era of Hypoxis Hemerocallidea
The consumption of Hypoxis hemerocallidea (HH) is of public health interest since preparations from them are highly promoted, especially in South Africa as agents that can also enhance immunity in HIV/AIDS patients. This study was designed to investigate the effect of this herb compared to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on the testis. Twenty four adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (188.98±4.5 g) were distributed into four groups (A - D) and treated with HAART and HH according to protocol. After eight weeks of treatment, blood samples were obtained for hormonal analyses. Testicles were fixed in buffered formaldehyde and paraffin processed. Histopathological, immunohistochemical, seminal fluid and morphometric analyses were carried out. There were no significant changes (P<0.05) both in the body and testicular weights between the groups compared with control. Serum testosterone was drastically reduced in all treated animals. Sperm concentration, motility, seminiferous tubule diameter, epithelium height were significantly (P<0.001) reduced in the HH-treated groups relative to control. Testicular morphology showed loss of interstitial space, seminiferous tubules distortion, cellular degeneration, in addition with altered pattern of collagen fibres and androgen receptors expressions. These effects were more pronounced in the HAART and 200 mg HH-treated groups. As the use of HH by people living with HIV/AIDS may be perceived cheap and convenient substance to boost the immune status, however, it uses require caution in view of its negative perturbations on the testicular integrity, especially in people of reproductive age.
Key Words: Hypoxis hemerocallidea; HAART; Testis; Androgen receptor; HIV/AIDS