The present study investigated the effects of long-term administration of Pueraria mirifica (PM) at non-toxic doses on the ovarian function and fertility of adult female mice based on evaluation of hematological and biochemical parameters . Female mice were divided into 4 groups (36 mice/group). Groups 1-3 were orally treated with a dose of 0 (PM-0), 10 (PM-10) or 100 mg/kg BW/day PM (PM-100), and group 4 was subcutaneously injected with 200 μg/kg BW/day of synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES). The treatment schedule was separated into treatment and post-treatment periods. The duration of each period was 8 weeks. The PM-10 mice exhibited regular estrous cycles, while the PM-100 and DES treatments induced prolonged estrous cycles. Although no changes were observed in the uterus and ovary weights of the mice after the PM-100 and DES treatments, hyperplasia of the uterine endothelium and a decrease in the number of growing ovarian follicles were detected. The changes in the ovarian histologies of the PM-100 and DES mice were related to reductions in the levels of LH and FSH, which subsequently caused a decrease in mating efficiency. Once the PM mice were able to copulate, they were capable of successfully becoming pregnant and mothering offspring. No abnormalities were observed in the external morphologies and reproductive organ weights of the 50-day-old offspring. In conclusion, our results suggest that long-term exposure to 100 mg/kg BW of PM has adverse effects on the mating efficiency and reproduction of adult female mice and that administration of 10 mg/kg BW of PM does not induce any changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian-uterine axis.
2007 Society for Reproduction and Development