Not only dopamine D2 receptors involved in Peony-Glycyrrhiza Decoction, an herbal preparation against antipsychotic-associated hyperprolactinemia

Di Wang, Hei Kiu Wong, Li Zhang, Grainne M. McAlonan, Xiao Min Wang, Stephen Cho Wing Sze, Yi Bin Feng, Zhang Jin Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of an herbal preparation called Peony-Glycyrrhiza Decoction (PGD) in alleviating antipsychotic-induced hyperprolactinemia (hyperPRL). In the present study, we further examined the pharmacological action of PGD on prolactin (PRL) secretion using in vitro and in vivo models, with specific attention to the role of dopaminergic mediators and other sex hormones. Treatment with PGD at 1–5 mg/ml significantly suppressed PRL secretion and synthesis in MMQ cells, a model of hyperPRL derived from pituitary adenoma cells. The suppressive effects were completely abolished by pretreatment with 10 μM haloperidol, a dopamine D2 receptor antagonist. Consistent with a D2-action, PGD did not affect PRL in rat pituitary lactotropic tumor-derived GH3 cells that lack the D2 receptor expression but significantly increased the expression of D2 receptors and dopamine transporters (DAT) in PC12 cells. In a rat model of hyperPRL, produced by repeated injection of the dopamine blocker metoclopramide (MCP), chronic PGD (2.5–10 g/kg daily) significantly reduced elevated serum PRL. The reduction in magnitude was similar to that elicited by bromocriptine (BMT), a dopamine D2 receptor agonist currently used for treatment of hyperPRL. Neither PGD nor BMT altered serum estradiol, but PGD reversed decreased serum progesterone to control level, whereas BMT did not. These results indicate that the anti-hyperPRL effects of PGD are associated not only with D2 receptor and DAT modulation, but also with a normalization of other sex hormone dysfunction. This experimental evidence supports clinical use of PGD as an effective treatment of antipsychotic-induced hyperPRL.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-338
Number of pages7
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Antipsychotics
  • Dopamine
  • D2 receptors
  • Herbal medicine
  • Hyperprolactinemia
  • Peony-Glycyrrhiza Decoction (PGD)


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