Background and Objectives: Pumpkin seed extract can be a good alternative to hormone replacement therapy since it is rich in phytoestrogens. In this regard, the present research aimed to investigate the effect of hydro-alcoholic extract of pumpkin seeds on the oogenesis pathway, liver, and kidney of female rats.
Materials and Methods: This experimental study was performed on 64 Wistar female rats (including 32 adults and 32 immature rats). The adult rats were randomly divided into three experimental and one control groups (n=8 per group). Moreover, the immature rats were allocated to groups in a similar manner. The experimental groups 1, 2, and 3 received a hydro-alcoholic extract of pumpkin seed in doses of 20, 50, 100 mg/kg, respectively, via intraperitoneal injection for 21 consecutive days. For the purposes of the study, blood samples were taken one day after the last injection to determine the serum levels of female hormones as well as renal and hepatic factors. The ovaries, livers, and kidneys of the rats were also separated for histological tests.
Results: Based on the results, significant increases were observed in the bodyweight of all immature rats; estrogen levels in the adult experimental group 3 and immature experimental groups 2 and 3; progesterone and creatinine levels in the immature experimental group 3; aspartate aminotransferase, total protein, Uric acid (UA), and the renal diameter in the immature experimental groups 1 and 2; follicle-stimulating hormone in the adult experimental group 3 and the immature experimental groups 1 and 2; luteinizing hormone and Graafian follicles in the adult experimental group 3; and atretic follicles in the immature experimental group 1 and 3 (P<0.05). Moreover, significant decreases were observed in the alkaline phosphatase in the adult experimental group 3; total protein, UA, and renal diameter in the immature experimental group 3; diameters of proximal and distal tubule as well as Henles loop in all immature rats; diameter of glomerular in the immature experimental groups 1 and 2; diameter of the renal cortex, glomerular, and Bowman's capsule in the adult experimental groups 2 and 3; secondary follicles in the adult experimental group 1, immature experimental groups 1 and 3; and primitive and early follicles in all the adult rats, compared with the control group (P<0.05).
Conclusion: Based on the findings, it can be concluded that the pumpkin seeds provide the nutritional needs of the body at the onset of sexual maturity, prepare the body for sexual maturity, and regulate female sex hormones without having adverse effects on the hepatic tissues. However, it must be noted that its consumption at the onset of sexual maturity requires dosage determination and further studies.