Effects of the sabal serrulata extract IDS 89 and its subfractions on 5 alpha-reductase activity in human benign prostatic hyperplasia

Prostate. 1996 May;28(5):300-6. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0045(199605)28:5<300::AID-PROS5>3.0.CO;2-F.


Extract from fruit of Sabal serrulata are used in the treatment of human benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Therefore, it is of interest whether this phytopharmacon has any influence on the androgen metabolism in the human prostate. It was found that the extract IDS 89 of Sabal serrulata inhibited dose dependently 5 alpha-reductase activity in the epithelium and stroma of human BPH, the mean inhibition being 29% and 45%, respectively. This inhibitory effect is mainly due to the saponifiable subfraction of IDS 89 showing a mean 5 alpha-reductase inhibition of 39% and 38% in epithelium and stroma, respectively. The inhibition was dose dependent and noncompetitive. At a testosterone concentration of 580 nM as substrate for 5 alpha-reductase, the main fatty acids of the extract IDS 89 gave rise to a percentual enzyme inhibition in the epithelium and stroma as follows: 51% and 42% (lauric acid), 5% and 0% (oleic acid), 43% and 34% (myristic acid), 2% and 0% (palmitic acid), respectively. The inhibitory effect of lauric acid was noncompetitive and dose dependent up to a concentration of 0.2 nM, the maximal inhibition in the epithelium and stroma being 52% and 45%, respectively. The nonsaponifiable subfraction, consisting mainly of phytosterols, showed a mean inhibition of 5 alpha-reductase in the epithelium and stroma of 15% and 10%, respectively. Finally, the hydrophilic subfraction, containing carbohydrates, amino acids, and polysaccharides, showed no inhibitory effect. The present in vitro studies suggest that the Sabal serrulata extract IDS 89 has an inhibitory effect on 5 alpha-reductase in the epithelium and stroma of human BPH. This inhibition is mainly due to the fatty acids of the saponifiable subfraction.

MeSH terms

  • Cholestenone 5 alpha-Reductase
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxidoreductases / drug effects*
  • Phytosterols / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts*
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / enzymology*


  • Fatty Acids
  • IDS 89 Sabal serrulata extract
  • Phytosterols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Cholestenone 5 alpha-Reductase