A jasmine-derived organic compound called methyl jasmonate (MeJA) could be used in conjunction with standard therapies to treat men with enlarged prostates, according to a study with rates.
The combination could help improve molecular and tissue anomalies associated with benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), researchers said.
The study, “Methyl Jasmonate Ameliorates Testosterone Propionate-Induced Prostatic Hyperplasia In Castrated Wistar Rats,” was published in the journal Phytotherapy Research.
BPH can be treated with α-blockers and inhibitors of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase (5ARIs), including Propecia (finasteride) and Avodart (dutasteride). They reduce the prostate volume and patients’ surgery risks, but they can have undesirable side effects. For instance, Propecia has been linked to loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, and gynecomastia — or breast growth in men.
Researchers at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria examined whether MeJA could treat an enlarged prostate with minimal side effects. MeJA is a stress hormone in jasmine and similar plants.
Before the treatment, BPH rats had significant increases in prostate weight, compared with healthy rats. They also showed increased activity in the enzymes prostatic acid phosphatase and alkaline phosphatase, which are associated with prostate disease. And the rats had higher levels of zinc and lower levels of the antioxidant molecules that can prevent DNA damage in cells.
In addition, the rats’ prostates showed hyperplasia — or an increase in cell size — and higher levels of PSA, which can be a sign of prostate abnormalities, including cancer.
Treatment with Propecia for a month reduced the BHP rats’ prostate weight by 34 percent, whereas MeJA treatment alone had little effect, yielding only a 5 reduction. However, a combination of both Propecia and MeJAA significantly reduced the activation of the two enzymes and levels of prostatic zinc. The combination also increased levels of antioxidant molecules and reduced PSA levels, compared with control rats.
Overall, the results showed that MeJA helped improve measures of BPH, particularly by restoring antioxidant protection.
“[T]he present study showed that administration of MeJA to BPH rats decreased the activities of prostatic acid [phosphatase] and [alkaline phosphatase], improved prostatic antioxidant indices, and restored the altered histological [prostate] architecture of the rats,” researchers wrote. “Hence, from a clinical point of view, MeJA could have applications in elderly subjects with BPH.”