Prof Iranloye Breaks Century-Old Myths on Fertility

Professor of Physiology, Bolanle Olubusola Iranloye has revealed that high and low salt intake, bitter kola ingestion, use of antiretroviral drugs (HIV drugs) as well as other factors negatively affect reproduction.

Delivering her Inaugural Lecture titled, Unravelling Anti-Reproductive Trenches: A Physiological Perspective”, on Wednesday, July 4, 2023, at the J. F. Ade Ajayi Auditorium, Professor Iranloye unravelled many unsuspecting factors to reproductive functions which are a culmination of her over twenty (20) years of research.

She mentioned that the administration of nicotine, an active part of cigarette/tobacco, via the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis causes degeneration of anterior pituitary cells, which in turn causes a delay in ovulation and reduction in ovulated eggs. She noted that Primiphos-methyl, a post-harvest pesticide used on grains and in homes against pests reduces the time for follicular development and the number of eggs released during ovulation.

She revealed that it was discovered that predator stress, a psychosocial stress, which could be likened to what women experience in war zones or with terrorist attack, causes a distortion in progesterone and oestrogen levels, thus distorting uterine receptivity and reducing implantation sites and pregnancy outcome.

She also pointed out that both low and high salt diets impair implantation and thus pregnancy outcome, while high fructose feeding induces type II diabetes mellitus and reduces “fertile period” by reducing the gonadotropins and the ovarian hormones.

Professor Iranloye highlighted that metabolic syndrome especially obesity and dyslipidemia are major risk factors in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). She explained that some drugs, such as hypertensive drug (calcium channel blockers), fertility drug (clomid) and HIV drugs affect reproductive functions. These include a reduction of 80-100% in the percentage fertility index and may be associated with increased menstrual abnormality.

The renowned reproductive health specialist explained the antifertility effects of some natural products based on her research. According to her, contrary to its traditional use, a natural product, Phyllanthus amarus, (called “dobisowo” or “ehin olobe” or “ehin olubi sowo” in Yoruba, “ngwu” in Igbo) causes abortion; Garcinia kola seed (bitter kola) which is known to have several health benefits can lead to low sperm counts in men; and Buccholzia coriacea, (wonderful kola), although believed to treat many ailments, increases peroxidation during follicular phase thus decreasing the number of ova released at ovulation.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, OON, FAS, presided over the lecture which was well attended by family, friends, mentors, mentees and colleagues, of the Inaugural Lecturer.

Born on Tuesday, July 7, 1966, in Ondo State, Professor Bolanle Olubusola Iranloye obtained Bachelor of Science (Honors), Master of Science and Doctorate degrees in Physiology from the University of Ibadan in 1988, 1990 and 2003 respectively.

She joined the services of the University of Lagos Lecturer II in 2003 and rose through the ranks to become a Professor in 2018.

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