Effect of Fermented Cirsium japonicum Extract on Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome

엉겅퀴 발효 추출물을 통한 남성 갱년기 증상 개선 효과

  • 정병서 (중원대학교 의생명과학과) ;
  • 김성훈 (중원대학교 의생명과학과) ;
  • 김현표 (중원대학교 의생명과학과)
  • Received : 2017.04.05
  • Accepted : 2017.07.05
  • Published : 2017.07.31


As men get older, total testosterone levels decline gradually, and concentrations of free and bioavailable testosterone decline sharply with each decade beyond their 30s. Andropause or testosterone deficiency syndrome (TDS) is defined as a decrease in sexual satisfaction or decline in general well-being accompanied by low levels of testosterone in older men. This male climacteric is characterized by nervousness, reduced potency, decreased libido, irritability, fatigue, depression, memory problems, sleep disturbances, and hot flushes. Cirsium japonicum (CJ) is used as a traditional medicine for hemorrhage, blood congestion, and inflammation in Korea. However, there is no report on the efficacy of CJ treatment for TDS. In this study, we observed the mitigating effect of CJ extract (CE) and fermented CJ extract (FCE) on symptoms of TDS. In elderly male rats, total and testosterone levels, hind limbs muscles, forced swimming time, and total and motile sperm counts significantly increased after daily intake of CE and FCE for 6 weeks. In contrast, sex hormone binding globulin, retroperitoneal fat, total serum cholesterol, and triglyceride levels were significantly reduced in CE and FCE groups. However, there was no difference in prostate specific antigen, aspartate aminotransferase, and alanine aminotransferase levels among all groups, which means CE and FCE did not have putative adverse effects. In a cell experiment, we also observed that CE and FCE enhanced expression of genes related to testosterone biosynthesis but reduced genes involved in testosterone conversion. On the whole, these positive effects on TDS were greater in FCE compared to CE. Thus, these results suggest the potential of FCE as a promising natural product for recovering testosterone levels and alleviating TDS.


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