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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 760585, 6 pages
Research Article

An Herbal Galactagogue Mixture Increases Milk Production and Aquaporin Protein Expression in the Mammary Glands of Lactating Rats

1Department of General Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325027, China
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325027, China

Received 2 March 2015; Revised 12 April 2015; Accepted 15 April 2015

Academic Editor: Raffaele Capasso

Copyright © 2015 Haibin Liu 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.


Background. Herbal galactagogues have been increasingly used to treat postpartum hypogalactia. The mechanism of action of herbal galactagogues remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of an herbal galactagogue mixture on milk production and aquaporin (AQP) expression in lactating rats. Methods. Thirty female Sprague Dawley rats were randomized into virgin, lactating + H2O, and lactating + galactagogue groups ( per group). Lactating rats were administered the decoction of an herbal galactagogue mixture by oral gavage or the same amount of distilled water. Results. The herbal decoction significantly increased milk production in lactating rats . Both immunohistochemical staining and western blot showed that protein levels of AQP-3 and AQP-5 were significantly increased during lactation compared with virgin stage and the herbal decoction further elevated their expression . AQP-1 was predominantly expressed in the capillaries whereas AQP-3 and AQP-5 were mainly detected in the epithelial cells and ducts of the mammary glands. Conclusion. The expression of AQPs in the mammary glands of rats was developmentally regulated. Herbal galactagogues might have increased milk secretion by regulating the expression and function of AQPs in the mammary glands.