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, 32 (4), 569-78

In Vitro Stimulation of Granulosa Cells by a Combination of Different Active Ingredients of Unkei-To


In Vitro Stimulation of Granulosa Cells by a Combination of Different Active Ingredients of Unkei-To

Wen-Shu Sun et al. Am J Chin Med.


Unkei-to is widely used in traditional Japanese herbal medicine for its ovulation-inducing effect. In the present study, we investigated the in vivo effects of unkei-to and its compounds on the steroidogenesis and cytokine secretion in human granulosa cells. Unkei-to stimulated the secretions of 17beta-estradiol and progesterone from highly luteinized granulosa cells obtained from in vitro fertilization patients; the stimulated effect on estradiol secretion occurred with 0.3 microg/ml, while a significant effect on progesterone secretion was obtained at 10 microg/ml. The unkei-to stimulation of estradiol secretion could be accounted for by the effects of its ingredients, Shakuyaku (paeoniae radix, Paeonia lactiflora Pallas) and Keihi (cinnamomi cortex, Cinnamomum cassia Blume); while dose response curves for unkei-to and Keihi to induce progesterone production were superimposable. Exposure of the cells to unkei-to caused dose-dependent increases in the concentrations of interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6 and IL-8 in the culture medium. Similar results were obtained when cells were incubated with the ingredient Ninjin (ginseng radix, Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer), but not Shakuyaku and Keihi. These results indicate that unkei-to has direct stimulatory effects on human granulosa cells to stimulate the steroidogenesis and secretion of cytokines (IL-1, IL-6 and IL-8). The various beneficial actions of unkei-to on the ovary may result from a combination of different ingredient herbs with different stimulatory effects on both steroidogenesis and the ovulatory process within the ovary, as well as stimulatory effect on the hypothalamus-pituitary axis.

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