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Original

Exp Neurobiol 2007; 16(1): 35-41

Published online July 1, 2007

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

The Promoting Effects of Herbal Formula on Growth in Adolescent Rats

Kyu-Sop Lee1, Soo Kyung Hong2, Seung-Moo Han3, Insop Shim1* and Sang Eun Kim2*

1Department of Integrative Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 137-701, 2Department of Nuclear Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 110-744, 3Department of Biomedical Engineering, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-702, Korea

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
TEL: 82-31-787-7671, FAX: 82-31-787-4018
e-mail: kse@snu.ac.kr

Abstract

Growth is the volumetric increase in weight, height, and volume of body, which is controlled by growth hormone secreted from the anterior pituitary. For the patients who have lower secretion of growth hormone, both by nature or a posteriori, prescription of growth hormone or growth hormone releasing medicines can induce normal growth. Cervi pantotrichum cornu of the deer has been used as a medicine helping the growth of children in their growth periods. Several herbal medicines including Laminariae thallus, Carthami flos, Achyranthis bidentatae radix, Dipsaci radix, and Eucommia ulmoides Oliv. are also traditionally acclaimed for their growth-promoting potential. However, scientific evidence is still insufficient. In this study, the extracts of natural materials, including Laminariae thallus, Carthami flos, Achyranthis bidentatae radix, Dipsaci radix, and Eucommia ulmoides Oliv. with the young and Cervi cornu, have been investigated for their effects on the growth facilitation. Two formulations of natural medicines were tested in adolescent rats, comprising the 1st group containing Laminariae thallus, Carthami flos, Achyranthis bidentatae radix, Dipsaci radix, and Eucommia ulmoides Oliv. added with young antler and the 2nd group comprising the same medicines but added with Cervi cornu instead of the Cervi pantotrichum cornu. The two groups were daily treated with 400 mg/kg for 3 weeks by oral administration. Weights and heights were measured by every 3 days. Levels of serum of growth hormone, the lengths, weights, and thicknesses of the thighbones were measured after treatment with two formulations. We also assessed the changes in the reactivity of the cholinergic system by measuring the immunoreactive neurons of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) in the hippocampus. Administration of both formulations promoted the growth of body weight, height, and thighbone, compared with the saline-treated control group. Rate of growth in the tail length was also increased after treatment with two formulations. The Cervi pantotrichum cornu administrated group has more potent growth- promoting properties than the Cervi cornu group. These results demonstrated that the natural medicine groups containing young or Cervi cornu can facilitate growth, and the Cervi pantotrichum cornu has more potential effect than the Cervi cornu. Levels of growth hormone tended to be higher in the formulation-administered groups than those in the control, but there were no statistically significant differences among the groups. Taken together, it was concluded that the natural formula containing the young or Cervi cornu extract facilitates growth by promoting growth-related indexes, implying that it can be effective for the patients who have growth troubles.

Keywords: growth hormone, herbal, adolescent, Cervi cornu, Cervi pantotrichum cornu