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TABLE F Saw Palmetto: Summary of In Vitro Studies


Study Design

Results and Conclusions

Alteration of cells

Saw palmetto, extract of fruit (Permixon)

Cells in culture: PC3 cells cotransfected with androgen receptor (wild-type) and CAT reporter genes (under control of androgen response element)

Addition of extract (25–50 μg/mL) inhibited CAT transcription induced by androgen (methyltrienolone) stimulation. No effect was observed in the absence of androgen-stimulation or in mock-transfected cells (Ravenna et al., 1996).

Saw palmetto, extract of fruit (Permixon), 10 μg/mL for 24 hours

In situ studies in human prostate biopsy samples:

Normal tissue donors: 10 donors; 9 were ages 20–29 y, 1 was age 51 y

BPH biopsy tissue samples: 10 from subjects without medical treatment, ages 62–83 y; 10 from subjects ingesting extract of saw palmetto fruit for previous 3 mo, 320 mg/d, BID

Model of proliferation/ apoptotic balance in prostate tissue samples: in epithelial tissue from subjects with BPH who had ingested extract, apoptotic index was increased (as assessed by TUNEL) compared with samples from subjects with untreated BPH. A small increase in the apoptotic index was observed in stromal tissue.

In epithelial and stromal tissue from subjects with BPH who had ingested extract, proliferative index was decreased (as assessed by a MIB-1 immunohisto-chemical stain for Ki-67 proliferation antigen) compared to samples from subjects with untreated BPH (Vacherot et al., 2000). (The proliferative index is increased in untreated BPH tissues as compared with normal tissues. Ingestion of extract returned the proliferative index to the level found in normal tissue.)

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