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Am J Chin Med. 2004;32(4):621-9.

Changes in serum tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) with kami-shoyo-san administration in depressed climacteric patients.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Osaka Medical College Takatsuki, Osaka 569-8686, Japan.


An herbal medicine (kampo) is widely used to prevent or treat climacteric symptoms. In order to investigate the potential involvement of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha in susceptibility to mood disorder in climacteric women and to clarify the relationship between immune function and the efficacy of herbal medicine, we compared serum TNF-alpha levels in two treated groups, with and without concurrent use of herbal medicine. This study included 113 consecutive depressed menopausal patients who visited the gynecological and psychosomatic medicine outpatient clinic of the Osaka Medical College Hospital in Japan. Fifty-eight patients were administered kami-shoyo-san according to the definition of above sho. In contrast, 55 patients who were different in sho of kami-shoyo-san were administered antidepressants. Hamilton Rating Scale for depression (HAM-D) scores were determined at baseline and 12 weeks after starting treatment (endpoint). TNF-alpha concentrations were analyzed before and after 12 weeks of treatment. Kami-shoyo-san significantly increased plasma concentrations of TNF-alpha after 12 weeks of treatment, to 17.22 +/- 6.13 pg/ml from a baseline level of 14.16 +/- 6.27 pg/ml (p = 0.048). The percent change in plasma concentration of TNF-alpha differed significantly between the kami-shoyo-san therapy group and the antidepressant therapy group at 4 weeks (12.0 +/- 7.8% and -1.22 +/- 0.25%, respectively, p < 0.01), 8 weeks (19.7 +/- 3.4% and -2.45 +/- 0.86%, respectively, p < 0.01), and 12 weeks (21.3 +/- 5.4% and -6.81 +/- 2.2%, respectively, p < 0.001). We found in this study that kami-shoyo-san, an herbal medicine, increased plasma TNF-alpha levels in depressed menopausal patients. Cytokines may play various roles in mood and emotional status via the central nervous system and may be regulated by herbal medicines, although the interactions are very complex.

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