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Estrogen-like and tissue-selective effects of 7-methoxycoumarin from Ficus umbellata (Moraceae): an in vitro and in vivo study

Zingue, Stéphane, Michel, Thomas, Nde, ChantalBeatrice Magne, Njuh, AmstrongNang, Cisilotto, Julia, Ndinteh, DerekTantoh, Clyne, Colin, Fernandez, Xavier, Creczynski-Pasa, TâniaBeatriz, Njamen, Dieudonné
BMC complementary and alternative medicine 2017 v.17 no.1 pp. 383
Ficus, abdominal fat, alternative medicine, animal models, aromatase, blood lipids, bone density, cell proliferation, epithelium, estradiol, estrogenic properties, histology, in vitro studies, in vivo studies, lipid composition, medicinal plants, metabolites, neoplasms, ovariectomy, plant extracts, rats, reporter genes, umbelliferones, uterus, vagina
BACKGROUND: Ficus umbellata is a medicinal plant previously shown to endow estrogenic properties. Its major component was isolated and characterized as 7-methoxycoumarin (MC). Noteworthy, coumarins and the respective active metabolite 7-hydroxycoumarin analogs have shown aromatase inhibitory activity, which is of particular interest in the treatment of estrogen-dependent cancers. The present work aimed at evaluating the estrogenic/antiestrogenic effects of MC in vitro and in vivo. METHODS: To do so, in vitro assays using E-screen and reporter gene were done. In vivo, a 3-day uterotrophic assay followed by a postmenopausal-like rat model to characterize MC as well as F. umbellata aqueous extract in ovariectomized Wistar rats was performed. The investigations focused on histological (vaginal and uterine epithelial height) and morphological (uterine wet weight, vagina stratification and cornification) endpoints, bone mass, biochemical parameters and lipid profile. RESULTS: MC induced a significant (p < 0.05) MCF-7 cell proliferation at a concentration of 0.1 μM, but did not inhibit the effect induced by estradiol in both E-screen and reporter gene assays. In vivo, MC treatment did not show an uterotrophic effect in both rat models used. However, MC (1 mg/kg) induced a significant increase (p < 0.01) of vaginal epithelial height. No significant change was observed with MC in abdominal fat weight, serum lipid levels and bone weight. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that MC has a weak estrogenic activity in vitro and in vivo that accounts only in part to the estrogenicity of the whole plant extract. MC could be beneficial with regard to vagina dryness as it showed a tissue specific effect without exposing the uterus to a potential tumorigenic growth.