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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2005 Mar;94(4):375-81. Epub 2005 Jan 26.

Analysis of the estrogenic components in kudzu root by bioassay and high performance liquid chromatography.

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  • 1Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 161 Zhongshan Road, Dalian 116011, PR China.


The estrogenic activity of the Chinese herb kudzu root was investigated by a recombinant yeast screening assay (YES). Isoflavones are the main components in the plant, of which puerarin is the most abundant one. The kudzu root extract was separated into four fractions according to the polarity. The crude extract and its sub-fractions, except the water fraction, showed clear estrogenic activity and the potencies were in the range of 10(-3) to 10(-1)g/l. The ligand potency was used to compare the estrogenic activity of these fractions. The crude extract and its sub-fractions were further analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to correlate the activity and the active components. Bioassay and chemical analysis showed that theoretical estrogenic activity expressed as equivalent 17beta-estradiol concentration or the cumulative effects are comparable to that experimentally determined by YES. The results showed that the high content of isoflavones as well as the high estrogenic activity could make kudzu root extract an interesting candidate for hormone replacement therapy.

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