A mechanism of action has not been conclusively identified, but it is thought to act on the pituitary-hypothalamic axis. DECREASES PROLACTIN RELEASE
The most thoroughly studied mechanism for vitex is its interaction with dopamine receptors in the anterior pituitary. Several studies have indicated that vitex acts on dopamine D2 receptors and decreases prolactin levels (Berger et al 2000, Halaska et al 1998, Jarry et al 1994, Meier & Hoberg 1999, Meier et al 2000, Milewicz et al 1993, Sliutz et al 1993, Wuttke et al 2003). It is likely that this mechanism is responsible for the symptom-relieving effects seen with vitex in mastodynia and hyperprolactinaemia chaste tree 217
(Meier & Hoberg 1999, Milewicz etal 1993, Splitt et al 1997).
Results from one study Involving healthy males propose that this effect is dose-dependent, as lower doses (120 mg) were found to increase secretion and higher doses (204-480 mg) were found to decrease secretion (Merz et al 1996).
A study using the vitex extract BNO 1095 (70% ethanol, 30% H20 extract, Bionorica, Neumarkt, Germany) identified that the major dopaminergic compounds are the clerodadienols, which act as potent inhibitors of prolactin release; however, other active compounds of lesser activity were also identified (Wuttke et al 2003).
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