The petroleum ether extract of Citrullus colocynthis Schrad (Cucurbitaceae) fruits and a steroidal compound isolated from this extract were tested in Wistar rats for their effect on Prostatic Hyperplasia (PH) induced by testosterone. The PH was induced in rats by daily subcutaneous injection of testosterone for 10 days. Rats of the test group were administered 100 mg/kg of petroleum ether extract of Citrullus colocynthis fruit along with testosterone. Graded doses i.e, 1, 2.5, and 5 mg/kg dose of isolated steroidal fraction were also tested in three groups of rats. Finasteride was used as positive control. Treatment with C. colocynthis extract reduced prostatic weights of the treated animals considerably. The isolated steroidal fraction also diminished the weight of prostate in dose dependent fashion. Histological examination of prostate revealed that the extract as well as isolate brought a significant change in histo-architecture. The epithelial cells of the treated groups were less involuated and reduction in connective tissue was observed. The petroleum ether extract as well as the isolate exhibited inhibition of 5-alpha reductase activity in in vitro studies. The histological studies, as well as in vitro enzyme inhibitory activity, clearly establish petroleum ether extract and isolate as a potential candidate in management of androgen dependent conditions like benign prostate hyperplasia.
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