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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 7 (2010), Issue 1, Pages 87-95
Original Article

A Kampo Medicine, Boi-ogi-to, Inhibits Obesity in Ovariectomized Rats

1Department of General Medicine, Kanazawa Medical University, 1-1 Daigaku, Uchinada-machi, Kahoku-gun, Ishikawa 920-0293, Japan
2Department of Kampo Medicine, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
3Department of Medical Oncology, Kanazawa Medical University, Ishikawa, Japan
4Department of Pharmacognosy, Tohoku Pharmaceutical University, Miyagi, Japan

Received 19 March 2007; Accepted 16 August 2007

Copyright © 2010 Jun-ichi Yamakawa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In women facing menopause, end of menstrual activity is accompanied by lower levels of estrogen and gradual weight gain. Postmenopausal weight gain sounds an alarm for women's health and may lead to hyperlipidemia, a lipid increase and glucose intolerance. These phenomena are connected to lifestyle-related diseases such as hypertension, type II diabetes mellitus, arteriosclerosis and metabolic syndrome, making it essential to prevent weight gain in women. A Kampo medicine, Boi-ogi-to, is traditionally used to treat obese conditions, but the mechanism has not yet been investigated. In this experiment, we tested the antiobesity properties of Boi-ogi-to in ovariectomized rats by measuring changes of serum cytokine levels and adipocytokines in fat cells. After treatment with this extract for 6 weeks (20-week-old rats), we found that there was a significant weight decrease in rats treated with Boi-ogi-to as compared with that in the control group. Serum tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α levels increased significantly in a dose-dependent manner. Gene expression of adipose tissue in uterus also dose dependently showed a significant increase of TNF-α levels, suggesting that secretion of TNF-α by fat cells might play a role in the ability of Boi-ogi-to to inhibit weight gain. While peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor-γ and adiponectin levels did not show a significant difference as compared with those in the control, levels of mRNA expression showed a tendency to increase dose dependently. Resistin did not show any significant change. These results suggest that Boi-ogi-to might be useful for the prevention of obesity that occurs in women with reduction of estrogen.