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


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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    • "Many premenstrual syndromes, particularly premenstrual mastalgia (mastodynia), are associated with latent hyperprolactinemia23, 24, 25. In addition, casticin has been demonstrated to reduce abnormally high serum prolactin levels in vivo (Figure 2). "
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    ABSTRACT: to investigate the anti-hyperprolactinemia activity of casticin, a flavonoid isolated from Vitex rotundifolia, and elucidate its molecular mechanism. hyperprolactinemia (MIHP) was induced by administration of metoclopramide dihydrochloride (50 mg/kg, tid, ip, for 10 d) in SD rats and the primary pituitary cells were prepared from the pituitary glands of the SD rats. Prolactin concentrations were measured using a radioimmunoassay. Cell viability was measured using an MTT assay. The mRNA expression of estrogen receptor alpha and beta in rat pituitary cells was measured using semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis. the level of serum prolactin in the MIHP model group was 2.1 fold higher than that in the untreated control group (P<0.01). Casticin (10, 20, and 40 mg/kg, ip, for 7 d) reduced serum prolactin levels by 33.9%, 54.3%, and 64.7%, respectively (P<0.01). The positive control drug bromocriptine 1 mg/kg decreased the serum prolactin concentration in MIHP rats by 44.9%. 17β-Estradiol (E2) significantly increased the proliferation of pituitary cells and casticin (1 and 10 micromol/L) markedly inhibited E2-induced pituitary cell proliferation by 27.7% and 42.1%, respectively. Stimulation of pituitary cells with E2 increased prolactin secretion into the cell culture supernatants, and casticin (0.1, 1, and 10 micromol/L) significantly inhibited the prolactin release stimulated by E2 in a concentration-dependent manner. Casticin (1 and 10 micromol/L) significantly inhibited ERα mRNA expression in pituitary cells stimulated with E2 (P<0.01) but increased ERβ mRNA expression at a concentration of 10 micromol/L (P<0.01). However, casticin had no effects on proliferation and prolectin release of the unstimulated primary pituitary cells in vitro. casticin inhibited the release of prolactin from pituitary cells of SD rats stimulated with E2 in vivo and in vitro. These effects might be related with inhibiting the ERα mRNA expression and increasing the ERβ mRNA expression.
    Acta Pharmacologica Sinica 11/2010; 31(12):1564-8. DOI:10.1038/aps.2010.178 · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    • "Authors suggested that because of its dopaminergic effect A. castus could be considered as an efficient alternative phytotherapeutic drug in the treatment of hyperprolactinemia. Other studies have demonstrated that inhibition of prolactin secretion by A. castus is dependent on the initial level of prolactin and the dose of A. castus and is independent of gonadotrophins (19,20). "
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    ABSTRACT: There have been many treatments suggested for the management of mastalgia; one of these is the fruit extract of Vitex Agnus castus L. commonly known as Agnus castus, an extract of a deciduous shrub native to Mediterranean Europe and Central Asia. It is postulated that A. castus suppresses the stress-induced latent hyperprolactinemia which is a release of supra-physiological levels of prolactin in some patients in response to stressful stimuli. It is postulated that A. castus could be effective in the treatment of cyclical mastalgia by inhibiting the release of excess prolactin by blocking Dopamine-2 receptor type on pituitary. The adverse events following A. castus treatment are mild and reversible. The aim of this review is assess the efficacy of A. castus in the treatment of mastalgia. Data from randomized and non-randomized studies regarding the efficacy and safety of A. castus is reviewed in a systematic fashion. It is concluded that A. castus can be considered as an efficient alternative phytotherapeutic agent in the treatment of mastalgia.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 10/2008; 5(3):247-50. DOI:10.1093/ecam/nem074 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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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 · 3.13 Impact Factor
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