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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 8, 2015

High fat diet-induced estrus cycle disruption: effects of Ficus asperifolia

  • Esther Ngadjui , Pepin Alango Nkeng-Efouet , Telesphore Benoit Nguelefack , Albert Kamanyi and Pierre Watcho EMAIL logo


Background: Ficus asperifolia (L) Hook. Ex Miq (Moraceae) fruits are used in Cameroonian traditional medicine to cure some cases of infertility in women. This study determines the mechanism of alleviating effect of the plant extracts on rat infertility induced by a high fat diet (HFD).

Methods: Obesity was reached by feeding female rats with a HFD for 10 weeks. Vaginal smear was observed daily for 3 weeks after animals were obese. Then, 70 animals with abnormal estrus cyclicity were selected and partitioned into two sets of 35 animals. Each set was further divided into seven groups of five rats. These obese rats with disrupted estrus cyclicity were orally administered the aqueous and methanolic extracts (100 and 500 mg/kg), distilled water (10 mL/kg), 5% Tween 80 (10 mL/kg) or lutenyl (0.8 µg/kg) once a day for 1 week (set I) or 4 weeks (set II). Estrus cyclicity, body weight gain, hematocrit, lipid profile, ovarian, uterine and hepatic growth indices were determined at the end of each treatment.

Results: HFD increased the body weight of the animals by 27% and disrupted the estrus cyclicity by 98.44%. Aqueous extract (100 mg/kg) of F. asperifolia given for 1 week corrected 40% of the irregular estrus cycle and this percentage increased to 80% as the treatment progressed to 4 weeks. F. asperifolia-treated obese rats (mostly with the aqueous extract at 100 mg/kg) showed a significant decrease (p<0.001) in the total plasma cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level and a significant increase (p<0.001) in high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. F. asperifolia has bioactive agents that may maintain conducive conditions for reproduction in obese female rats.

Conclusions: Our data support the anecdotal claims of F. asperifolia in folk medicine to cure some cases of infertility in women.


The authors are grateful to the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) for the grant [Ref 07–300 RG/BIO/AF/AC; UNESCOFR: 3240184286].

Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

Research funding: None declared.

Employment or leadership: None declared.

Honorarium: None declared.

Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.


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Received: 2014-12-2
Accepted: 2015-4-19
Published Online: 2015-5-8
Published in Print: 2015-9-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

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