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To evaluate the effects of Huang Bai (Phellodendron amurense) on growth and maturation in adolescent female rats.
Female Sprague–Dawley rats (28 days old; n = 72) were divided into six daily treatment groups: control (distilled water), Huang Bai (100 and 300 mg/kg), recombinant human GH (rhGH; 20 μg/kg), estradiol (1 μg/kg), and triptorelin (100 μg). Body weight, food intake, and vaginal opening were measured daily from postnatal day (PND) 28 to PND 43. Tetracycline (20 mg/kg) was injected on PND 41. After sacrifice on PND 43, the ovaries and uterus were weighed, and the tibias were fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde. Decalcified and dehydrated tibias were sectioned at a thickness of 40 μm, and sectioned tissues were examined with a fluorescence microscope. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2 were detected using immunohistochemistry.
Relative to controls, body weight was higher in the triptorelin group. Bone growth rate increased in the Huang Bai 100 mg/kg (354.00 ± 31.1 μm/day), rhGH (367.10 ± 27.11 μm/day), and triptorelin (374.50 ± 25.37 μm/day) groups. Expression of IGF-1 and BMP-2 in the hypertrophic zone was higher in all experimental groups. Vaginal opening occurred earlier in the estradiol group (PND 33.58 ± 1.62) than in controls and later in the triptorelin group (PND > 43). Ovarian and uterine weights were lower in the oestradiol and triptorelin groups. However, Huang Bai had nonsignificant effects on vaginal opening and the weights of ovaries and the uterus.
Huang Bai stimulated bone growth by upregulating IGF-1 and BMP-2 in the growth plate. However, it had no effect on pubertal development.