BackgroundPolycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrinopathy affecting women. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of Stachys sylvatica hydroalcoholic extract on biochemical and histological parameters in a rat model of polycystic ovary syndrome. Thirty adult female Wistar rats with an average weight of 180 g were divided into five groups of six rats. Animals were divided into groups of control, PCOS (intramuscular injection of 2 mg estradiol valerate, Aburaihan Co., Iran/rat, once), and treated with hydroalcoholic extract of Stachys sylvatica. After 60 days of PCOS induction, 100, 250, and 500 mg/kg BW Stachys sylvatica hydroalcoholic extract were injected intraperitoneally. The control group was just injected with olive oil as a solvent. After 10 days of treatment, animals were weighed and then sacrificed and blood samples were taken from their heart for hormonal studies. Ovaries of all groups were cut for histological studies and fixed in formaldehyde, and 7-μm sections were prepared by microtome and stained using hematoxylin–eosin. The data were analyzed by one-way ANOVA and Tukey-Kramer post hoc test with the SPSS software. The significant level was p < 0.05.ResultsThe Stachys sylvatica extract can improve obesity in the PCOS group. The histological and hormonal results showed that PCOS induction can decrease the number of preantral, antral, and Graafian follicles as well as corpus luteum in comparison with the control (p < 0.001), whereas the number of cystic follicles increased significantly (p < 0.001). After treatment with Stachys sylvatica hydroalcoholic extract (500 mg/kg), a significant increase was observed in all these parameters. In addition, the number of cystic follicles decreased significantly (p < 0.001). The level of LH and FSH hormones decreased significantly (p < 0.01) in the PCOS group compared with the control. In contrast, the estrogen level increased significantly (p < 0.01). In the 250 and 500 mg/kg group, treatment with the extract could increase FSH and decrease estrogen concentration significantly relative to the PCOS group (p < 0.01). Results of antral follicle morphometry indicated an increase in follicle diameter and theca thickness, but the thickness of the granulosa layer decreased significantly. An improvement in these measurements was observed in the treated PCOS groups with all doses.ConclusionsIt can be concluded that Stachys sylvatica hydroalcoholic extract can improve some symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome because of components such as iridoids, flavonoids, and sesquiterpenes with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. In this experiment, 500 mg/kg dose of extract was considered as the most effective dose.