Improvements of vaginal atrophy without systemic side effects after topical application of Pueraria mirifica, a phytoestrogen-rich herb, in postmenopausal cynomolgus macaques.
J Reprod Dev. 2014 ;60(3):238-45. Epub 2014 Apr 21. PMID: 24748397
The estrogenic efficacy of topical vaginal application of Pueraria mirifica extract (PM) on the restoration of vaginal atrophy, and the presence of any systemic side effects, were investigated in postmenopausal cynomolgus macaques. Twelve postmenopausal cynomolgus macaques, with complete cessation of menstruation for at least 5 years before start of this experiment, were divided into three groups. They received a topical vaginal application daily of 0.1 or 1% (w/w) PM cream or a conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) cream (a mixture of estrone, equilin, 17β-dihydroequilin, 17α-estradiol and 17α-dihydroequilin at 0.625 mg total estrogen/g cream) for 28 days. Estrogenic efficacy was assessed weekly by vaginal cytology assay and vaginal pH measurement, whilst the plasma luteinizing hormone (LH) and sex skin coloration levels were determined at the end of each treatment period to evaluate the systemic side effects. PM significantly increased the proportion of superficial cells in a dose-dependent manner, with a similar efficacy between 1% (w/w) PM and CEE. Together with increased vaginal maturation, PM decreased the vaginal pH to acidic levels,as observed in the CEE group. PM induced no detected systemic side effects, whilst CEE decreased the plasma LH level and increased the reddish color of the sex skin during the posttreatment period. Topical vaginal treatment with PM stimulated the maturation of the vaginal epithelium without causingsystemic side effects in postmenopausal monkeys. The implication is that PM could be a safer alternative to treat vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women.