Effects of Millettia macrophylla (Fabaceae) extracts on estrogen target organs of female Wistar rat

Stéphane Zingue, Dieudonné Njamen, Job Tchoumtchoua, Maria Halabalaki, Evan Simpson, Colin Clyne, Chantal Beatrice Magne Nde

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16 Citations (Scopus)


The present study aims to determine the estrogenicity of Millettia macrophylla, a Cameroonian medicinal plant, in ovariectomized rats and to investigate the underlying mechanisms, in order to justify scientifically its traditional use. To accomplish this objective, we used dichloromethane (DCM) and methanol (MeOH) extracts of the stem bark of M. macrophylla. In the cell culture based assay, the MeOH extract significantly transactivated estrogen receptor α (ERα) and estrogen receptor β (ERβ); in addition, the estrogen-like effects of both, DCM and MeOH extracts, could be inhibited in vitro by the pure ER antagonist ICI 182,780, indicating that these effects were primarily mediated through ERs. In animal experiments, both DCM and MeOH extracts significantly increased the uterine and vaginal epithelial heights in the 3-day treatment assay, while only the MeOH extract exhibited such effects in the sub-chronic treatment regimen. Furthermore, the MeOH extract significantly decreased fasting serum triglycerides, total cholesterol levels and artherogenic risk in the sub-chronic treatment. These results indicate that M. macrophylla extracts have estrogen-like effects supporting their traditional use in Cameroon to alleviate some menopausal problems (See graphical abstract in Supplementary Fig. 1, available in the online version only).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-131
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Estrogen target organ
  • Estrogen-like effect
  • Female reproductive health
  • Millettia macrophylla
  • Phytoestrogen

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