The effect of yucca on proliferation, apoptosis, and steroidogenesis of porcine ovarian granulosa cells
Yucca shidigera is a medicinal plant native to Mexico. Is a plant widely used in folk medicine to treat a variety of ailmentary disorders, but its action on reproductive processes and possible mechanisms of such action remains unknown. Yucca schidigera extract contains a number of steroidal saponins that, because of their biological activity, have attracted attention from the food industry for many years. Yucca extract is used as a natural feed additive with positive effect to microflora,
... o microflora, digestion, metabolism and to improve animal muscle growth. Its extract has been used as a foodstuff and folk medicine to treat a wide variety of diseases for many years. Nevertheless, it remaines unknown, whether consumption of yucca can affect reproductive system. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of yucca on basic ovarian cell functionsproliferation, apoptosis and steroidogenesis. Porcine ovarian granulosa cells were cultured with and without yucca extract (added at doses 0; 1; 10 and 100 μg.mL -1 of medium). Markers of proliferation (% of PCNA-positive cells) and apoptosis (% cells containing bax) were analysed by immunocytochemistry. Release of steroid hormones (progesterone and testosterone) was measured by EIA. It was observed, that addition of yucca inhibited proliferation (expression of PCNA), increased apoptosis (expression of bax), stimulated progesterone and inhibited testosterone release. The ability of yucca to reduce ovarian cell proliferation, to promote ovarian cell apoptosis and affect steroidogenesis demonstrates the direct influence of yucca on female gonads. Furthermore, our observations suggest the multiple sites of action (proliferation, apoptosis, steroidogenesis) of yucca on porcine ovarian cell functions. It is not to be excluded, that consumption of yucca can suppress female reproductive functions.