Kuntai capsule, a mixture of six traditional Chinese herbs used in alternative medicine, could inhibit the growth of ectopic tissue in endometriosis. This is according to a study conducted in a rat model of the condition and published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
For the study titled “Kuntai Capsule Inhibited Endometriosis via Inducing Apoptosis in a Rat Model,” a team of researchers led by Yan Zhu, PhD, of the Department of Reproductive Pharmacology at Fudan University, in Shanghai, implanted laboratory rats with endometrial tissues and then treated half of them with Kuntai Capsule for three weeks, leaving the other half untreated as control.
They measured the volume of the endometrial tissue they had implanted. They also analyzed apoptosis, or programmed cell death, on the ectopic endometrium.
The results showed that Kuntai Capsule significantly decreased the volume of ectopic endometrium. Moreover, in rats treated with Kuntai Capsule, the level of estradiol decreased. Estradiol is the primary female sex hormone responsible for the development and maintenance of female reproductive tissues. It also plays a key role in the pathogenesis and development of endometriosis.
On the other hand, researchers noted that the levels of TNF-α increased in rats treated with Kuntai capsule. It is known that TNF-α promotes apoptosis by activating downstream signaling proteins. In fact, the expression of proteins involved in apoptosis were increased in a dose-dependent manner in the ectopic endometrial tissue in rats treated with Kuntai Capsule. Interestingly, the levels of these proteins remained unchanged in the normal endometrium.
The authors concluded that Kuntai Capsule inhibits the growth of ectopic endometrial tissue by inducing apoptosis, and could be a promising traditional Chinese medicine to treat endometriosis. Further studies are needed to confirm its efficacy.
Endometriosis affects around 6% to 10% of women worldwide and up to half of them experience abdominal pain, infertility, or both. Surgery is regarded as the best way to treat the condition, but there are a number of disadvantages associated with surgery, including the possibility of recurrence, complications following surgery and the possible risk of infertility.