Effect of Tribulus terrestris on nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-diaphorase activity and androgen receptors in rat brain

J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jan 4;96(1-2):127-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2004.08.030.

Abstract

Tribulus terrestris L. (Zygophyllaceae) have been used as an aphrodisiac both in the Indian and Chinese traditional systems of medicine. Administration of Tribulus terrestris extract (TT) increased sexual behaviour and intracavernous pressure both in normal and castrated rats and these effects were probably due to the androgen increasing property of TT. The objective of the present study is to evaluate the effect of TT on nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-diaphorase (NADPH-d) activity and androgen receptor (AR) immunoreactivity in rat brain. Twenty-four adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into two groups of twelve each. Group I was treated with distilled water and Group II was treated with TT at the dose of 5mg/kg body weight orally, once daily for 8 weeks. Following treatment transcardiac perfusion was done with Ringer lactate, 4% paraformaldehyde and 30% sucrose. The brain tissue was removed and sections of the paraventricular (PVN) area of hypothalamus were taken for NADPH-d and AR immunostaining. There was an increase in both NADPH-d (67%) and AR immunoreactivity (58%) in TT treated group and these results were statistically significant compared to the control. Chronic treatment of TT in rats increases the NADPH-d positive neurons and AR immunoreactivity in the PVN region. Androgens are known to increase both AR and NADPH-d positive neurons either directly or by its conversion to oestrogen. The mechanism for the observed increase in AR and NADPH-d positive neurons in the present study is probably due to the androgen increasing property of TT. The findings from the present study add further support to the aphrodisiac claims of TT.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aphrodisiacs / chemistry
  • Aphrodisiacs / pharmacology*
  • Hypothalamus / enzymology
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • NADPH Dehydrogenase / metabolism*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Plant Components, Aerial / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Androgen / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Tribulus*

Substances

  • Aphrodisiacs
  • Plant Extracts
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • NADPH Dehydrogenase