In vitro prolactin but not LH and FSH release is inhibited by compounds in extracts of Agnus castus: Direct evidence for a dopaminergic principle by the dopamine receptor assay

Dept. Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology, University of Göttingen, Germany.
Experimental and clinical endocrinology 02/1994; 102(6):448-54. DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1211317
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Women suffering from premenstrual mastodynia often respond to stimuli of prolactin (Prl) release with a hypersecretion of this hormone. Pharmacological reduction of Prl release by dopamine agonists or treatment with extracts of Agnus castus (AC) improve the clinical situation of patients with such premenstrual symptoms. Extracts of AC contain compounds which inhibit in vivo Prl release in women as well as in vitro from dispersed rat pituitary cells. It is yet unknown whether this inhibitory action of AC is only exerted on Prl release or whether release of other pituitary hormones like LH and FSH is also affected. The effects of AC on LH and FSH release were examined in vitro using rat pituitary cell cultures. To rule out that the Prl-inhibiting properties of AC are at least in part due to a cytotoxic component, pituitary cell cultures were subjected to the MTT test. To assess whether the Prl inhibitory effect of AC preparations is due to compounds acting as dopamine (DA) agonists, we used the corpus striatum membrane DA receptor binding assay. Our results demonstrate for the first time that AC extract contains an active principle that binds to the D2 receptor. Thus, it is very likely that it is this dopaminergic principle which inhibits Prl release in vitro from rat pituitary cells. Furthermore we give evidence for the specificity of action of AC on hormone release, since gonadotropin secretion remained unaffected. The findings of the present study support the therapeutical usefulness of AC extracts for treatment of premenstrual mastodynia which is associated with hypersecretion of Prl. Furthermore, the beneficial effects of AC appear to be due to the inhibition of pituitary Prl release.

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    • "In our research, Casticin had shown analgesic effects and reduced abnormally high serum prolactin levels. In a study of the extract of V. agnus castus (CA), using the corpus striatum membrane dopamine (DA) receptor binding assay in vitro, however , diterpenes (not Casticin) were reported as the active constituents, acting as DA agonists and inhibiting the release of prolactin (Jarry et al., 1994; Berger et al., "
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    ABSTRACT: Vitex rotundifolia L. is widely distributed along the sea coast of China. The aim of this study was to investigate the anti-nociceptive and anti-hyperprolactinemia activities of substances isolated from Fructus Viticis (the fruit of Vitex rotundifolia), which may be effective in the treatment of pre-menstrual symptoms, using acetic-acid-induced writhing and metoclopramide-dihydrochloride-induced hyperprolactinemia in mice. The fractions effective in terms of anti-nociceptive and anti-hyperprolactinemia activities were obtained from Fructus Viticis by elution through macro-porous resin, and polyamide and silica gel column chromatography. The standardization of the fractions obtained from the separation procedures was carried out by means of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-fingerprint. In this study, the flavone-enriched fraction (Fraction 6) showed a higher inhibitory rate than indomethacin (69.4% vs. 56.4%) at a dose of 50 mg/kg body wt., and significantly reduced the prolactin level as compared to HPRL-treated mice (8.2 ng/ml vs. 25.5 ng/ml). Furthermore, this fraction showed anti-nociceptive activity in a dose-dependent manner (10-50 mg/kg body wt., i.g.). On further purification with silica gel, Casticin was isolated from this fraction and it decreased abnormal serum levels of prolactin by approximately 50% (p < 0.01). Using bioassay-screening methods, our results indicate that the presence of flavonoids such as Casticin in this plant may be responsible for the activity effects. Casticin has potent analgesic and anti-hyperprolactinaemia properties, is likely to be one of the active components of Fructus Viticis, and may have a role in treating PMS (premenstrual syndrom).
    Phytomedicine 10/2007; 14(10):668-74. DOI:10.1016/j.phymed.2007.01.008 · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    • "Several studies have indicated that VAC acts on dopamine D2 receptors to decrease prolactin levels (Jarry et al., 1994; Hoberg, 1999; Berger et al., 2000; Meier et al., 2000; Wuttke et al., 2003). This mechanism is most likely responsible for alleviating symptoms of mastodynia and hyperprolactinemia (Milewicz et al., 1993; Meier and Hoberg, 1999). "
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    ABSTRACT: The dried ripe fruit of Vitex agnus-castus L. (VAC) is widely used for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). A previous study reported that extracts of VAC showed affinity to opiate receptors; however, functional activity was not determined. We tested two different VAC extracts in receptor binding and functional assays. Our objectives were: (1) to confirm the opiate affinity; (2) to rule out interference by free fatty acids (FFA); (3) to determine the mode of action of VAC at the mu-opiate receptor. Methanol extracts of VAC were prepared either before (VAC-M1) or after (VAC-M2) extraction with petroleum ether to remove fatty acids. Both extracts showed significant affinities to the mu-opiate receptor, as indicated by the concentration-dependent displacement of [3H]DAMGO binding in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO)-human mu-opiate receptor (hMOR) cells. The IC50 values were estimated to be 159.8 microg/ml (VAC-M1) and 69.5 microg/ml (VAC-M2). Since the defatted extract not only retained, but exhibited a higher affinity (p<0.001), it argued against significant interference by fatty acids. In an assay to determine receptor activation, VAC-M1 and VAC-M2 stimulated [35S]GTPgammaS binding by 41 and 61% (p<0.001), respectively. These results suggested for the first time that VAC acted as an agonist at the mu-opiate receptor, supporting its beneficial action in PMS.
    Journal of Ethnopharmacology 06/2006; 106(2):216-21. DOI:10.1016/j.jep.2005.12.025 · 3.00 Impact Factor
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    • "Many premenstrual symptoms, particularly premenstrual mastalgia (mastodynia) are associated with latent hyperprolactinemia (Jarry et al. 1994; Wuttke et al. 1997; Jarry et al. 1999). These patients do not suffer from prolactinomas but in response to daily stressful events they hypersecrete prolactin which appears to stimulate the mammary gland thereby causing "
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    ABSTRACT: Extracts of the fruits of chaste tree (Vitex agnus castus = AC) are widely used to treat premenstrual symptoms. Double-blind placebo-controlled studies indicate that one of the most common premenstrual symptoms, i.e. premenstrual mastodynia (mastalgia) is beneficially influenced by an AC extract. In addition, numerous less rigidly controlled studies indicate that AC extracts have also beneficial effects on other psychic and somatic symptoms of the PMS. Premenstrual mastodynia is most likely due to a latent hyperprolactinemia, i.e. patients release more than physiologic amounts of prolactin in response to stressful situations and during deep sleep phases which appear to stimulate the mammary gland. Premenstrually this unphysiological prolactin release is so high that the serum prolactin levels often approach heights which are misinterpreted as prolactinomas. Since AC extracts were shown to have beneficial effects on premenstrual mastodynia serum prolactin levels in such patients were also studied in one double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study. Serum prolactin levels were indeed reduced in the patients treated with the extract. The search for the prolactin-suppressive principle(s) yielded a number of compounds with dopaminergic properties: they bound to recombinant DA2-receptor protein and suppressed prolactin release from cultivated lactotrophs as well as in animal experiments. The search for the chemical identity of the dopaminergic compounds resulted in isolation of a number of diterpenes of which some clerodadienols were most important for the prolactin-suppressive effects. They were almost identical in their prolactin-suppressive properties than dopamine itself. Hence, it is concluded that dopaminergic compounds present in Vitex agnus castus are clinically the important compounds which improve premenstrual mastodynia and possibly also other symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome.
    Phytomedicine 06/2003; 10(4):348-57. DOI:10.1078/094471103322004866 · 2.88 Impact Factor
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