Vitex agnus-castus dry extract BNO 1095 (Cyclodynon®) inhibits uterine hyper-contractions and inflammation in experimental models for primary dysmenorrhea
Background. For many women, the monthly suffering induced by menstrual “cramps” is severe enough to profoundly disrupt their quality of life. In the case of primary dysmenorrhea, a condition related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), intense uterine contractions are thought to trigger moderate to intense pain despite the absence of an underlying infection or other medically-identifiable disease states. The associated uterine hyper-contractility is reminiscent of labor, and associated pain is likely to be mediated by the release of prostaglandins, leukotrienes and the infiltration of leukocytes that normally accompany the breakdown of the endometrial lining.
Standardized extracts of Vitex agnus-castus berries (VAC extracts of chaste tree, or chaste berries) are clinically effective in treating the symptoms of PMS, yet the mechanisms of how the chemically complex mixture acts are largely unknown.
Methods. Using an in vivo dysmenorrhea model rats were treated with 10 mg/kg estradiol-benzoate i.p. once daily for 12 days and with 2.1, 10.3 or 20.7 mg/kg VAC dry extract p.o. once daily for 7 days prior to induction of convulsions. Uterine contractions where induced with 2 IU/kg oxytocin i.p., followed by monitoring of abdominal convulsions and signs of pain on the last day of the experiment. Moreover, in vitro methods were applied that are described in the methods section.
Results. Here, we show that the VAC herbal dry extract BNO 1095 (commercially available as Cyclodynon®) targets the uterine myometrial tissue and inflammatory signaling molecules of associated migratory/inflammatory cells. Specifically, BNO 1095 dose-dependently inhibited oxytocin-induced uterine contractions in a rat dysmenorrhea model in vivo and drug-induced contractions in isolated human and rat uterine tissue in vitro. Furthermore, BNO 1095 showed a promising anti-inflammatory capacity by potently inhibiting 5-lipoxygenase activity and leukotriene production and by reducing the production of reactive oxygen species and inflammatory cytokines in vitro.
Conclusion. These results provide evidence that BNO 1095 effectively treats menstruation-related complaints including primary dysmenorrhea.
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