Biomol Ther.  2013 Mar;21(2):153-160.

The Spermatogenic Effect of Yacon Extract and Its Constituents and Their Inhibition Effect of Testosterone Metabolism

  • 1College of Pharmacy, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju 361-763, Republic of Korea.


We screened the pharmacological effects of a 50% ethanol extract of Yacon tubers and leaves on spermatogenesis in rats. As a result, we found that Yacon tuber extracts increased sperm number and serum testosterone level in rats. It has been reported that the crude extract of Yacon tubers and leaves contain phenolic acids, such as, chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid and caffeic acid by HPLC/MS analysis. We were interested in the contributions made by phenolic acid, particularly chlorogenic acid of Yacon tuber extract to the spermatogenic activity. After administering Yacon tuber extract or chlorogenic acid to rats for 5 weeks, numbers of sperm in epididymis were increased by 34% and 20%, respectively. We also administered ferulic acid, which has been reported to be a metabolite of chlorogenic acid and a constituent of Yacon tuber extract to investigate its spermatogenic activity in rats. Yacon tuber extract and ferulic acid increased sperm numbers by 43% and 37%, respectively. And, Yacon tuber extract, and chlorogenic acid showed significantly inhibition effect of testoeterone degradation in rat liver homogenate. We considered that the spermatogenic effect of Yacon tuber extract might be related to phenolic compounds and their inhibitory effect of testosterone degradation. Yacon showed the possibility as ameliorable agents of infertility by sperm deficiency and late onset hypogonadism syndrome with low level of testosterone.


Smallanthus sonchifolius; Sperm; Spermatogenesis; Chlorogenic acid; Testosterone
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