Diosgenin does not express estrogenic activity: a uterotrophic assay
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This study assessed the effects of diosgenin on estrogenic activity using a uterotrophic assay. Immature female rats received diosgenin orally at doses of 200, 100, or 20 mg/kg body mass; and 17 alpha ethynylestradiol at doses of 1 or 0.3 mu g/kg, daily, for 3 consecutive days from day 19 to day 21. Controls were distributed among 2 groups: an intact control group and a vehicle control group. Animals were sacrificed 24 h after the last application of diosgenin, estradiol, or vehicle (22nd day of life). Uterine wet weight, stereological and histomorphometrical changes, immunohistochemical expression of estrogen receptor alpha (ER alpha), progesterone receptor (PR), and the expression of lactoferrin (LF) were examined. Diosgenin did not affect the uterine wet weight, epithelium height, volume densities of endometrium, endometrial epithelia, number of endometrial glands, or histological appearance of vaginal epithelia. ER alpha, PR, and LF immunostaining intensity were not altered in the animals that received diosgenin. High-potency reference ER agonist 17 alpha-ethynylestradiol induced a significant increase in all of the measured parameters, and as expected, decreased ER alpha immunostaining intensity. Based on these data, it can be concluded that diosgenin, at doses of 20-200 mg/kg, did not act as an estrogen agonist in the immature rat uterotrophic assay.