Background: Since the biological properties of propolis depend to the plants that can be found in a specific region, propolis from unexplored regions attracts the attention of scientists. Ethanolic extract of Cameroonian propolis (EEP) is used to treat various ailments including gynecological problems and amenorrhea. Since there were no scientific data to support the above claims, the present study was therefore undertaken to assess estrogenic properties of Cameroonian propolis. Methods: To achieve our goal, the ability of EEP to induce MCF-7 cells proliferation in E-screen assay as well as to activate estrogen receptors α (ERα) and β (ERβ) in cell-based reporter gene assays using human embryonic kidney cells (HEK293T) transfected with ERs was tested. Further, a 3-day uterotrophic assay was performed and the ability of EEP to alleviate hot flushes in ovariectomized adult rats was evaluated. Results: In vitro, EEP showed an antiestrogenic activity in both HEK293T ER-α and ER-β cells. In vivo, EEP induced a significant increase in a bell shape dose response manner of the uterine wet weight, the total protein levels in the uterus, the uterine and vaginal epithelium height and acini border cells of mammary gland with the presence of abundant eosinophil secretions. Moreover, EEP induced a significant decrease in the total number, average duration as well as frequency of hot flushes after 3 days of treatment in rat (equivalent to a month in woman). The dose of 150 mg/kg exhibited the most potent estrogenic effects among all the tested doses. The UPLC-HRMS analysis showed the presence of caffeic acid derivatives and trirtepernoids in EEP, which are well known endowed with estrogenic properties. Conclusion: These results suggest that Ethanolic extract of Cameroonian propolis has estrogen-like effects in vivo and may alleviate some menopausal problems such as vaginal dryness and hot flushes.
- Cameroonian propolis
- E-screen assay
- Ethanolic extract of propolis
- Hot flushes
- Ovariectomized rat