Cinnamomi cortex, a cinnamon tree-derived drug that is commonly used in traditional Korean medicine, may be a promising therapeutic approach for patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), according to a study developed at the Kyung Hee University, in the Republic of Korea.
The study, “Cinnamomi Cortex (Cinnamomum verum) Suppresses Testosterone-induced Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia by Regulating 5α-reductase,” published in Scientific Reports, shows that Cinnamomi cortex may restore the testosterone-induced enlargement of the prostate through regulation of the 5α-reductase, an enzyme that regulates the conversion of testosterone into a more active metabolite in BPH .
BPH is a common chronic disease characterized by proliferation of the muscle and epithelial cells of the prostate, which can lead to lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). Although the causes of BPH are largely unknown, testosterone is known to play a critical role.
Currently, patients with LUTS receive standard medications that include α-blockers and 5α-reductase inhibitors (5ARIs). While α-blockers promote the relaxation of the smooth muscle cells to help urine flow, they cannot reduce the prostate size and they are associated with side effects. Conversely, 5ARIs such as Propecia (finasteride) and Avodart (dutasteride) that inhibit the conversion of testosterone into DH are known to reduce PSA but they are also associated with side effects.
Herbal medicines known to have low side effects in general, are beginning to be considered for treatment of BPH. In this study, the researchers investigated the effects of the water extract of Cinnamomi cortex on a prostatic hyperplasia testosterone-induced BPH rat model.
The investigators found that administration of the testosterone induced the enlargement of the prostate and increased the protein levels of PSA, 5AR-2, estrogen receptor, androgen receptor (AR), and steroid receptor coactovator 1 (SRC1), which regulates the AR-mediated cell proliferation.
They also found that the Cinnamomi cortex-treated animal model showed a reduction in prostate size and decreases in the protein levels back to normal.
To further explore the effects of Cinnamomi cortex, the researchers used an epithelial cell line and treated them with the herbal-derived drug. Results showed that Cinnamomi cortex inhibited cell proliferation through regulation of 5AR.
Together, the data suggested that Cinnamomi cortex may be a promising therapeutic approach in BPH patients with fewer side effects than currently used therapies.