Amelioration of testosterone induced benign prostatic hyperplasia by Prunus species

J Ethnopharmacol. 2016 Aug 22;190:33-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.05.052. Epub 2016 May 24.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common urological disorder of men. The ethnomedicinal use of an African plant Prunus africana (Hook.f.) Kalkman (Pygeum) in treating men's problems made it a popular remedy all over the globe for the treatment of BPH and related disorders. However, rampant collections made from the wild in Africa have pushed the plant to Appendix II of CITES demanding conservation of the species.

Aim of the study: In the present study, the aim was to unearth the protective effect of bark of different species of Prunus against BPH. The five selected Indian plants of family Rosaceae viz. Prunus amygdalus Stokes, Prunus armeniaca L., Prunus cerasoides Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don, Prunus domestica L. and Prunus persica (L.) Batsch were evaluated against P. africana (Hook.f.) Kalkman for a suitable comparison of efficacy as antiBPH agents.

Materials and methods: The antiBPH activity was evaluated in testosterone (2mg/kg/day, s.c, 21 days) induced BPH in Wistar rats. The parameters studied were body weights; histopathological examination, immunohistochemistry (PCNA) and biochemical estimations of the prostate; supported by prostatic index, testicular index, creatinine, testosterone levels; antioxidant and anti-inflammatory evaluation. The study also included chemical profiling using three markers (β-sitosterol, docosyl ferulate and ursolic acid) and estimation of β-sitosterol content through GC.

Results: The Prunus species showed the presence of all the three markers in their TLC fingerprint profile and maximum amount of β-sitosterol by GC was observed in P. domestica. Interestingly, all the species exhibited significant amelioration in testosterone induced parameters with P. domestica showing the most encouraging effect as indicated from histopathological examination, immunohistochemistry and biochemical studies. The Prunus species further showed remarkable anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity signifying their role in interfering with various possible factors involved in BPH.

Conclusions: These findings are suggestive of a meaningful inhibitory effect of testosterone induced BPH by the bark of different species of Prunus in the order of P. domestica, P. persica, P. amygdalus, P. cerasoides and P. armeniaca with an efficacy of P. domestica comparable to P. africana and can be used as the potential backup of Pygeum for the management of BPH.

Keywords: 5α-Reductase; Anti-inflammatory; Antioxidant; Benign prostatic hyperplasia; Carrageenan (PubChem CID: 101231953); Chemical profiling; Docosyl ferulate (PubChem CID: 14238616 ); Finasteride (PubChem CID: 57363); Prunus species; Testosterone (PubChem CID: 6013); Ursolic acid (PubChem CID: 64945); β-sitosterol (PubChem CID: 222284).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Bark
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Prostate / drug effects*
  • Prostate / metabolism
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / chemically induced
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / metabolism
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / pathology
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / prevention & control*
  • Prunus armeniaca / chemistry*
  • Prunus domestica / chemistry*
  • Prunus dulcis / chemistry*
  • Prunus persica / chemistry*
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sitosterols / isolation & purification
  • Sitosterols / pharmacology
  • Testosterone*
  • Triterpenes / isolation & purification
  • Triterpenes / pharmacology
  • Urological Agents / isolation & purification
  • Urological Agents / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Plant Extracts
  • Sitosterols
  • Triterpenes
  • Urological Agents
  • Testosterone
  • gamma-sitosterol
  • ursolic acid