Multiorgan toxicity induced by EtOH extract of Fructus Psoraleae in Wistar rats.

Research paper by Yu Y Wang, Hong H Zhang, Jia-Ming JM Jiang, Dan D Zheng, Hong-Sheng HS Tan, Li-Ming LM Tang, Hong-Xi HX Xu

Indexed on: 30 Apr '19Published on: 20 Mar '19Published in: Phytomedicine


The fruits of Psoralea corylifolia L. (Fructus Psoraleae, FP) has a long history and a wide range of applications in the treatment of osteoporosis and leukoderma. Although it is well known that FP could cause hepatotoxicity and reproductive toxicity, less is known about its potential toxicity on multiple organs. This study aims to determine the multiorgan toxicity of EtOH extract of FP (EEFP) and to investigate the underlying mechanisms through a systematic evaluation in Wistar rats. Wistar rats were orally administered with the EEFP at doses of 1.5, 1.0 and 0.5 g/kg for 28 days. Histopathologic and clinicopathologic analyses were performed, and the hormone levels in serum and the mRNA levels of enzymes related to the production of steroid hormones in adrenal glands were detected. The area of each band of adrenal glands and the steroid levels in the adrenal glands were also measured. After the treatment, both the histopathologic and clinicopathologic examination showed that EEFP caused liver, prostate, seminal vesicle and adrenal gland damage. Among the enzymes involved in the regulation of adrenal steroid hormone production, NET, VMAT2, and CYP11B1 were upregulated, while CYP17A1 was downregulated. Among the adrenal steroid hormones, COR and NE were upregulated, while levels of DHT and serum ACRH and CRH decreased. Our results indicated that adrenal gland, prostate, and seminal vesicles could also be the target organs of FP-induced toxicity. Abnormal enzyme and hormone production related to the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis caused by the EEFP may be the potential toxic mechanism for changes in the adrenal gland and secondary sex organs of male rats. Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier GmbH.