Researchers at Iran’s Zahedan University of Medical Sciences investigated the inhibitory effects of the medicinal plant Withania coagulans extract (WCE) in rats with induced benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), finding the plant inhibits the development of BPH and can be a useful tool for the development of treatments for this condition.
The research paper, “Antiproliferative and Antioxidant Effects of Withania coagulans Extract on Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in Rats,” was published in Nephro-Urology Monthly.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition that leads to enlargement of the prostate gland and is associated with the onset of bladder outflow obstruction and a series of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), relatively common ailments but ones that can significantly affect a patient’s quality of life. First-in-line BPH therapy usually includes medications such as α-blockers and 5α-reductase inhibitors, but these therapies can lead to side effects such as dizziness, headache, and sexual dysfunction. As a result, alternative methods like phytotherapy — modern herbal medicine — are becoming increasingly accepted to alleviate BPH symptoms.
Withania coagulans is an important medicinal plant commonly used in Iran, Pakistan, and East India. W. coagulans extract (WCE) has been shown to possess a number of beneficial effects, such as anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity. Withaferin-A (WA), a major constituent of the plant, has also shown inhibitory effect against several different types of cancer cells, including prostate. Despite thorough investigation on the pharmaceutical effects of the plant, there is no study on the potential benefits of W. coagulans against BPH.
Researchers investigated the antiproliferative and antioxidant effects of WCE on benign prostatic hyperplasia in rats. After the treatment, the prostates of the animals were dissected. Morphology, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), a marker for cell proliferation, and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) levels were measured. Induction of BPH caused suppression of TAC levels and increased PCNA expression in the prostate gland. Treatment with WCE was shown to increase TAC levels in a dose-dependent manner, and a reduction of PCNA in the prostate gland, reducing proliferation in BPH.
“We suggest that WCE decreases the oxidative injury to the prostate cells and prevents abnormal cell proliferation, which establishes the balance between proliferation and apoptosis in BPH. This might be useful in the treatment of BPH, although more research is required in order to elucidate the potential therapeutic role of WCE against BPH,” the researchers wrote in their study.