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Planta Med. 2003 Oct;69(10):945-7.

Evidence for estrogen receptor beta-selective activity of Vitex agnus-castus and isolated flavones.

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  • 1Klinische und Experimentelle Endokrinologie, Universitätsfrauenklinik Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.


Recent cell culture experiments indicated that extracts of Vitex agnus-castus (VAC) may contain yet unidentified phytoestrogens. Estrogenic actions are mediated via estrogen receptors (ER). To investigate whether VAC compounds bind to the currently known isoforms ERalpha or ERss, ligand binding assays (LBA) were performed. Subtype specific ER-LBA revealed a binding of VAC to ERss only. To isolate the ERss-selective compounds, the extract was fractionated by bio-guidance. The flavonoid apigenin was isolated and identified as the most active ERss-selective phytoestrogen in VAC. Other isolated compounds were vitexin and penduletin. These data demonstrate that the phytoestrogens in VAC are ERss-selective.

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