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Volume 14, Issue 3 (May 2012) 14, 499–504; 10.1038/aja.2011.132

Biological effect of human serum collected before and after oral intake of Pygeum africanum on various benign prostate cell cultures

Stéphane Larré1,2, Philippe Camparo2,3, Eva Comperat2,4, Delphine Boulbés2, Mohammed Haddoum5, Sylvain Baulande6, Pascal Soularue6, Pierre Costa7 and Olivier Cussenot2

1 Nuffield Department of Surgical Science, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK
2 ER2 UMPC, CeRePP, Paris 75000, France
3 Department of Pathology, Val de Grace Hospital, Paris 75000, France
4 Department of Pathology, La Pitié Salpétrière Hospital, Paris 75000, France
5 Laboratoire Solvay Pharma, Paris 75000, France
6 PartnerChip, Genople, Evry 91000, France
7 Department of Urology, CHU Carémeau, Nîmes 30000, France

Correspondence: Dr S Larré, (stephanelarre@yahoo.fr)

Received 2 May 2011; Revised 21 July 2011; Accepted 14 August 2011; Advance online publication 26 December 2011


Pygeum africanum (Tadenan) is a popular phytotherapeutic agent used in the treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. The active compounds of the drug have not been identified, and determining the plasma concentration of the drug is, therefore, not possible. Because there are conflicting results on the efficacy of this drug, we aimed to investigate its effect on prostate cell growth in vitro using human serum collected before and after Pygeum africanum intake. We used primary and organotypic cultures of human prostatic stromal myofibroblast cell line WPMY and prostatic epithelial cell line PNT2. We also used fresh benign prostatic tissue. The serum of a treated man induced decreases in the proliferation of primary cells, organotypic cells and WPMY cells but not PNT2 cells. We also analysed the effect of treated serum on the gene expression profile of WPMY cells. The transcriptome analysis revealed an upregulation of genes involved in multiple tumour suppression pathways and a downregulation of genes involved in inflammation and oxidative-stress pathways. The oral intake of Pygeum africanum resulted in serum levels of active substances that were sufficient to inhibit the proliferation of cultured myofibroblasts prostatic cells. This inhibition was associated with changes in the transcriptome.

Keywords: benign prostatic hyperplasia; organotypic culture; primary culture; PNT2; Pygeum africanum; transcriptome; WPMY

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