New TCM formula fights male immune infertility



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May 17, 2007  
Filed under Men's health



CM NEWS – A Chinese medicinal formula, Huzhangdanshenyin (?????), derived by researchers in Xiamen, China has been proved more effective than corticosteroids in targetting male immune infertility – but without the side effects of steroids.

What is male immune infertility? Sperm are relatively protected from the immune system by a natural protective mechanism called the blood-testes barrier. Tight connections between the cells lining the male reproductive tract keep immune cells from gaining entry to the sperm within. If an injury breaches this barrier, then the immune system has access to sperm and antibodies are formed.

Antisperm antibodies have been reported in approximately 10% of infertile men, compared to less than 1% of fertile men. The prevalence of antibodies jumps dramatically in men who have had surgery on their reproductive tract: nearly 70% of men who have undergone a vasectomy reversal will have antibodies present on their sperm. Women have a much lower chance for developing antibodies to sperm: less than 5% of infertile women can be shown to have antisperm antibodies, and it is unclear who is at risk for their formation.

Who is at risk for antisperm antibodies?

Anything that disrupts the normal blood-testes barrier can result in the formation of antisperm antibodies. This may include any of the following conditions:

  • Vasectomy reversal
  • Varicocele (dilation of the veins surrounding the spermatic cord)
  • Testicular torsion (twisting of the testicle)
  • Congenital absence of the vas deferens
  • Testicular biopsy
  • Cryptorchidism (failure of testicular descent)
  • Testicular cancer
  • Infection (orchitis, prostatitis)
  • Inguinal hernia repair prior to puberty

The study done at the Department of Andrology, Xiamen TCM Hospital Affiliated to Fujian TCM College selected 90 men with immune infertility and randomly divided them into two groups: 60 in the treatment group, treated by Huzhangdanshenyin, and the other 30 in the control, treated by prednisone, both for 3 months.

What is prednisone? Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid drug which is usually taken orally but can be delivered by intramuscular injection and can be used for a large number of different conditions. It has a mainly glucocorticoid effect. Prednisone is a prodrug that is converted by the liver into prednisolone, which is the active drug and also a steroid.

Prednisone is particularly effective as an immunosuppressant and affects virtually all of the immune system. It can therefore be used in autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases (such as severe asthma, severe poison ivy dermatitis, ulcerative colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Crohn’s disease), various kidney diseases including nephrotic syndrome, and to prevent and treat rejection in organ transplantation. This medicine may also reduce the sex drive.

Huzhangdanshenyin was derived these researchers. The formula includes:

Hu zhang (??) 15g

Pu gong ying (???; Herba Taraxaci Mongolici cum Radice, dandelion) 15g

Zi cao (??, radix arnebia, stoneweed) 15g

Huang qi (??, Radix astragali) 15g

Dan shen (??, Salvia miltiorrhiza, or Chinese sage) 15g

Chi shao (??, root of common peony) 15g

Dang gui (??, Radix Angelicae sinensis, roots of Chinese angelica) 15g

Hong hua (??, Flos Carthami Tinctorii) 10g

Shou wu (??, Radix Polygoni Multiflori, Chinese knotweed) 15g

Nu zhen zi (???, Fructus Ligustri Lucidi, privet fruit) 15g

Sheng di (??, Rehmannia Radix) 15g

Xian ling pi (???, Herba Epimedii, epimedium) 15g

The researchers then observed the subjects’ improvement of clinical symptoms, immunologic indexes (antisperm antibodies in serum and seminal plasma) and sperm indexes (semen liquefied duration, motility, viability, density and abnormal morphology rate).

How do antisperm antibodies cause infertility?

Antibodies that attach to the sperm may impair motility and make it harder for them to penetrate the cervical mucus and gain entrance to the egg; they may also cause the sperm to clump together, which is occasionally noted on a routine semen analysis. Antibodies may also interfere with the ability of the sperm to fertilize the egg.

What treatments are available for antisperm antibodies?

Suppressing the immune system with corticosteroids may decrease the production of antibodies but can result in serious side effects, including severe damage to the hipbone. Intrauterine insemination, with or without the use of medications, has been used for the treatment of antisperm antibodies. It is believed to work by delivering the sperm directly into the uterus and fallopian tubes, thus bypassing the cervical mucus.

The total antisperm antibody reversing ratio of the treatment group was higher than that of the control (P < 0.01), especially the serum antisperm antibody reversing ratio. There were significant differences in the clinical cure rate and total validity rate between the treatment group and the control (P < 0.01).

After the treatment, the markers of the clinical symptoms were lower (P < 0.01), and the improvement of the clinical symptoms was better in the treatment group than in the control (P < 0.01), especially the symptoms of pain in the back and knees, distending and bearing-down sensation of the perineum and testis, hypersexuality and topoalgia.

Compared with pre-treatment, sperm motility and viability of the treatment group significantly improved (P < 0.01), and so did sperm density (P < 0.05). However, there were no significant differences in sperm density, semen liquefied duration, abnormal morphology rate and pH (P > 0.05) before and after the treatment.

In conclusion, the study says Huzhangdanshenyin works more effectively than prednisone in the treatment of male immune infertility. It could improve the antisperm antibody reversing ratio, clinical symptoms and signs and ameliorate sperm indexes with no obvious advierse effects.

[Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2006 Aug;12(8):750-5; Chinese text here.]






Comments

8 Comments on "New TCM formula fights male immune infertility"

  1. fertilityone on Sun, 27th May 2007 10:04 am 

    Thanks for the information. It’s good to find some more information on male infertility topics. It will be interesting to see some more long term results.

  2. susanna.ng on Mon, 28th May 2007 12:54 am 

    thank you for your comments. i will continue to look up more articles on this topic. stay tuned! :)

  3. Rose Stinson on Wed, 20th Feb 2008 3:44 pm 

    Where can I buy this formula:
    Huzhangdanshenyin was derived these researchers. The formula includes:

    Hu zhang (??) 15g

    Pu gong ying (???; Herba Taraxaci Mongolici cum Radice, dandelion) 15g

    Zi cao (??, radix arnebia, stoneweed) 15g

    Huang qi (??, Radix astragali) 15g

    Dan shen (??, Salvia miltiorrhiza, or Chinese sage) 15g

    Chi shao (??, root of common peony) 15g

    Dang gui (??, Radix Angelicae sinensis, roots of Chinese angelica) 15g

    Hong hua (??, Flos Carthami Tinctorii) 10g

    Shou wu (??, Radix Polygoni Multiflori, Chinese knotweed) 15g

    Nu zhen zi (???, Fructus Ligustri Lucidi, privet fruit) 15g

    Sheng di (??, Rehmannia Radix) 15g

    Xian ling pi (???, Herba Epimedii, epimedium) 15g

  4. Susanna Ng on Thu, 21st Feb 2008 2:50 am 

    just bring the formula to any TCM doctor. they should be able to give you a package of all the herbs and teach you how to boil them into a decoction (which, usually is very bitter.. be warned).

  5. Rose on Sat, 23rd Feb 2008 8:00 am 

    Susanna,
    Thank you for your response. I have a few more questions:
    1) how often can the formula of herbs be boiled/simmered (can the herbs be used more than once)?
    2) how often does one need to take this decoction, once per day, once per week?
    3) how long is the treatment, one month, two months, six months?
    4) would you be able to refer me to a TCM doctor in the Toronto, ON area who has experience with this formula?
    5) can you suggest any formulas to increase sperm count, motility and morphology?

    I have experience with chinese herbs, I was treated by a TCM doctor few years back and I boiled herbs on a weekly basis.

    Thank you again for your help!!

  6. Susanna Ng on Sun, 24th Feb 2008 11:03 am 

    hi rose,

    i’ll try to answer your questions to my best knowledge :)

    1) usually a package (one set of all the herbs in any formula) can be boiled twice.

    2,3) it must be determined by the TCM doctor. for non-acute conditions, usually you don’t have to boil everyday.

    4) i live in vancouver and i don’t have any TCM doctors’ contacts for Toronto. perhaps you can call up the CTCMA (an official professional licensing authority established in 1996 by the Government of BC) and see if they have some recommendations (such as where to find CREDIBLE tcm doctors in your city). here’s the link:
    http://www.ctcma.bc.ca/index.asp

    5) i will be looking more into this topic, i promise. :) so stay tuned.

  7. muhammad afzal on Sat, 28th Jun 2008 8:38 am 

    I want to know more about huzhangdanshenyin.

  8. Rose on Mon, 4th Aug 2008 7:17 pm 

    Hello Susanna,
    Have you heard of this:An experimental study on inhibitory effect of Chinese medicine tai-bao on antisperm antibody
    Would you know what the formula is for tai-bao?
    Please let me know.
    Thank you,

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