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Pharmacological actions of the bioactive compounds of Epimedium on the male reproductive system: current status and future perspective

Liu, Song-Po1,2,3,*; Li, Yun-Fei1,2,4,*; Zhang, Dan5; Li, Chun-Yang1,2; Dai, Xiao-Fang1,2; Lan, Dong-Feng1,2; Cai, Ji1,2; Zhou, He1,2; Song, Tao1,2; Zhao, Yan-Yu3; He, Zhi-Xu6; Tan, Jun7; Zhang, Ji-Dong1,2,6

1Department of Immunology, Zunyi Medical University, Zunyi 563000, China

2Special Key Laboratory of Gene Detection and Therapy of Guizhou Province, Zunyi Medical University, Zunyi 563000, China

3Department of Medical Genetics, Zunyi Medical University, Zunyi 563000, China

4Department of Respiratory Medicine, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Zunyi Medical University (The First People’s Hospital of Zunyi), Zunyi 563000, China

5Zunyi Medical University Library, Zunyi 563000, China

6Collaborative Innovation Center of Tissue Damage Repair and Regeneration Medicine, Zunyi Medical University, Zunyi 563000, China

7Department of Histology and Embryology, Zunyi Medical University, Zunyi 563000, China

Correspondence: Dr. JD Zhang (choukeitou@hotmail.com) or Dr. J Tan (juntan_zmu@126.com)

Originally published: July 09, 2024 Received: July 7, 2023 Accepted: February 26, 2024


Compounds isolated from Epimedium include the total flavonoids of Epimedium, icariin, and its metabolites (icaritin, icariside I, and icariside II), which have similar molecular structures. Modern pharmacological research and clinical practice have proved that Epimedium and its active components have a wide range of pharmacological effects, especially in improving sexual function, hormone regulation, anti-osteoporosis, immune function regulation, anti-oxidation, and anti-tumor activity. To date, we still need a comprehensive source of knowledge about the pharmacological effects of Epimedium and its bioactive compounds on the male reproductive system. However, their actions in other tissues have been reviewed in recent years. This review critically focuses on the Epimedium, its bioactive compounds, and the biochemical and molecular mechanisms that modulate vital pathways associated with the male reproductive system. Such intrinsic knowledge will significantly further studies on the Epimedium and its bioactive compounds that protect the male reproductive system and provide some guidances for clinical treatment of related male reproductive disorders.

Keywords: Epimedium; icariin; infertility; male reproductive system; tumor

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Asian Journal of Andrology CN 31-1795/R ISSN 1008-682X  Copyright © 2023  Shanghai Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences.  All rights reserved.