Background: Aging is associated with the loss of endocrine function. In this study, Vitex agnus-castus (Vitex), which has antioxidant effects and high levels of phytoestrogen, was investigated with regard to the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and antioxidant indices in natural aging and in a d-galactose induced aging model in female mice.
Methods: The mice were subcutaneously injected with d-galactose (500 mg/kg/d for 45 days). Extract of Vitex (600 mg/kg/bid for 7 days by gavage) was used to treat d-galactose-induced aging and natural aging in mice. Seventy-two female NMRI mice (48 3-month-old normal mice and 24 18-24-month-old mice), weighing 30-35 g were randomly divided into six groups: control, Vitex, d-galactose, Vitex + d-galactose, Aging, and Vitex + Aging. The antioxidant indices and sex hormone levels were subsequently measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits.
Results: Body weight and the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone levels were significantly increased in the d-galactose aging and natural aging groups, whereas catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and estrogen level were significantly decreased in these same groups. d-Galactose can also disrupt the estrous cycle and damage the uterus and ovarian tissues. Vitex could effectively attenuate these alterations.
Conclusion: Vitex improved some aging events in the reproductive system of female mice. Therefore, because of its apparent antiaging effects, Vitex can be suitable for some aging problems such as oxidative stress, female sex hormone deficiency, and an atrophic endometrium.
Keywords: Vitex agnus-castus; aging; antioxidant index; d-galactose; estrogen.
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