Recently, a group of researchers from the Urmia University Orūmīyeh, West Azerbayjan, Iran, released study results showing that in laboratory animals, grape seed extract (GET) has a similar effect on reducing disease pathology associated with endometriosis as the drug atorvastatin (ATV). The study, entitled “Comparing protective effect of grape seed extract versus atorvastatin on endometriosis in rat model: Evidence for immunohistochemical and biochemical alterations” was published in the latest edition of the journal Veterinary Research Forum.
Endometriosis is a result of endometrial tissue, the tissue that normally lines the uterus, growing in other areas of a woman’s reproductive system. The abnormal growth can occur on the ovaries, behind the uterus, on the bowels or on the bladder. This abnormal tissue growth can cause chronic pain, inflammation, and very heavy periods. The pain is usually in the abdomen, lower back, or pelvic areas. For some women endometriosis can result in difficulty conceiving a child or a more devastating result of complete infertility.
According to the CDC, Endometriosis afflicts as many as 15 percent of reproductive-age women in the U.S. and millions of women around the world.
In this study the investigators used a laboratory rat model of endometriosis.
Thirty-six albino rats received implants that induced endometriosis in the animals, and were then dived into 6 groups, that included:
- No therapeutic treatment and euthanized on day 21
- No therapeutic treatment and euthanized on day 36
- Received atorvastatin (ATV; 5 mg kg-1per day, orally) until 21 days from induction of endometriosis
- Received ATV from the 15thday after induction of endometriosis for 21 days
- Received grape seed extract (GET; 450 mg kg-1per day, orally) until 21 days from induction of endometriosis
- Received GET from the 15thday after induction of endometriosis for 21 days
After evaluation of the data from all 6 groups the researchers found that GET and ATV-treated animals both showed a significant reduction in endometriosis, an increase in ER+ cell distribution, as well as a significant decrease in Erα mRNA levels (p < 0.05).
When discussing the results of the study, the investigators wrote, “In conclusion, the present study showed that GET exerts a potent inhibitory effect on development of endometriotic implants similar to ATV. Moreover, our data showed that GET via its potent anticholesterol and antiangiogenic impacts reduced ERα+ cells distribution, mRNA levels as well as neovascularization. Therefore, it could inhibit endometriotic tissue growth similar to ATV. Finally, we showed that GET can be considered as an appropriate novel compound for endometriosis.”
These findings are very optimistic, but confirmatory studies need to be conducted in more animal models and if the results prove positive, eventually in human clinical trials.