Sassia O. Regeai(1,2*), Salma A. Abusrer(2) and Naema S. Shibani(1,2)
1- Department of Life Sciences, School of Basic Science, Libyan Academy of Postgraduate Studies, Janzour, Tripoli, Libya
2- Zoology Department, Faculty of Science, University of Tripoli, Tripoli, Libya
Background: Male infertility has been on the rise since the past seven decades. Recently in Libya, bee venom therapy (BVT) became a popular method among alternative healthcare practitioners to treat male infertility. However, search in the literature did not find any published studies that investigated the use of BVT for infertility treatment.
Aim: To investigate the effect of bee venom on male reproductive status through measurements of semen quality parameters and testicular histological changes in adult male mice.
Methods: A total of 48 male mice were randomly divided into three experimental groups (which were subdivided into 2 subgroups of 8 mice each), as follows: control, bee venom sting (BVS), and bee venom injection (BVI). The normal control subgroup mice were not subjected to any treatment; while the vehicle control subgroup mice were injected (i p) with 200 µL of 0.9% saline solution. In the BVS treated subgroups each mouse was stung by one live bee for five times (BVS-5) or seven times (BVS-7) every third day for 2 weeks or 3 weeks. While, each mouse in the BVI treated subgroups received 23 μg/Kg in a dose volume of 200 µL of bee venom injections (i.p.) for five times (BVI-5) or seven times (BVI-7) every third day for 15 or 21 days.
Results: The findings of this study showed that repeated bee venom treatment by sting or injection to adult male mice resulted in significant decline of testosterone levels, sperm count, sperm motility, and a very significant increase in the percentage of abnormal sperm morphology; also, there were harmful testicular histological changes in the structural organization of seminiferous tubules and degenerative changes in the germinal epithelium compared to control group.
Conclusion: The results of this study provide evidence for low semen quality and adverse testicular histological changes in male mice treated with bee venom. Hence, there is a desperate need for educating alternative health care practitioners and infertile couples of harmful effects of BVT on reproductive status.
Keywords: Bee venom, Complementary and alternative medicine, Libya, Mouse testes, Semen quality.