The effects of a Japanese herbal medicine, Keishi-bukuryo-gan, and 17beta-estradiol on calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-induced elevation of skin temperature were investigated in ovariectomized (OVX) rats. Ovariectomy not only potentiated CGRP-induced elevation of skin temperature and arterial vasorelaxation but also induced a lower concentration of endogenous CGRP in plasma and up-regulation of arterial CGRP receptors, suggesting that lowered CGRP in plasma due to ovarian hormone deficiency increases the number of CGRP receptors and consequently amplifies the stimulatory effects of CGRP to elevate skin temperature. Oral Keishi-bukuryo-gan (100-1000 mg/kg, once a day for 7 days) restored a series of CGRP-related responses observed in OVX rats by normalizing plasma CGRP levels in a dose-dependent manner as effectively as s.c. injection. 17Beta-estradiol (0.010 mg/kg, once a day for 7 days). However, Keishi-bukuryo-gan did not affect the lower concentration of plasma estradiol and the decreased uterine weight due to ovariectomy, although the hormone replacement of 17beta-estradiol restored them. These results suggest that Keishi-bukuryo-gan, which does not confer estrogen activity on plasma, may be useful for the treatment of hot flashes in patients for whom estrogen replacement therapy is contraindicated, as well as menopausal women.
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