INTRODUCTION: This study was planned to determine the effects of carob use on puberty because of the observation of early puberty or pubertal variants due to the long-term use of carob in our clinic.
METHODS: Forty-eight Wistar albino rats, on postnatal day 21, were assigned into two groups female (n=24) and male (n=24). Groups were divided into four groups Control, and Carob-150, Carob-300, and Carob-600. Ceratonia siliqua L. extract was given to rats in a 0.5% carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) solution. CMC (0.5%) was given to the control, Ceratonia siliqua L. extract was given 150 mg/kg/day to the Carob-150, 300 mg/kg/day to the Carob-300, 600 mg/kg/day to the Carob-600 by oral gavage. The treatments were performed once daily until the first sign of puberty. Serum follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol, total testosterone, leptin, glutathione, glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and malondialdehyde were measured by commercial rat-specific ELISA kits. Testis, uterus and ovarian tissue were examined histologically.
RESULTS: The median time of preputial separation in male rats was 38th, 31st, 31st, and 31st days in the Control, Carob-150, Carob-300, and Carob-600 groups, respectively (p=0.004). The median day of vaginal opening day was the 39th, 31st, 34th, and 31st days in the Control, Carob-150, Carob-300, and Carob-600 groups, respectively (p=0.059). FSH, LH, testosterone (male), estradiol (female) and leptin levels of the groups were similar. However, GPx levels were higher in male and female animals given C. siliqua extract compared to the Control (male p=0.001 and female p=0.008). Testicular and ovarian tissues were concordant with the pubertal period in all groups. As the dose of Ceratonia siliqua extract increased, it induced spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis, causing abnormal changes, such as ondulation in the basement membrane, capillary dilatation, and increased congestion in males. In females, edema in the medulla gradually increased with increased dosage, and granulosa cell connections were separated in Carob-300 and Carob-600 groups.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated that C. siliqua caused early puberty and increased spermiogenesis and folliculogenesis. Antioxidant mechanisms were impaired with increasing dose, possibly leading to tissue damage at high doses.