Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Therapeutic effects of radix dipsaci, pyrola herb, and cynomorium songaricum on bone metabolism of ovariectomized rats

Meijie Liu1, Gary Guishan Xiao23*, Peijing Rong3, Zhiguo Zhang1, Jiazi Dong1, Hongyan Zhao1, Honghong Li4, Yan Li1, Jinghua Pan1, Hong Liu1, Wenlai Wang1, Qinglin Zha5 and Dahong Ju1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Basic Theory, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, South Small Street 16, Dongzhimennei, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100700, Peoples Republic of ChineChina

2 Functional Genomics & Proteomics Laboratory, Osteoporosis Research Center, Creighton University Medical Center, 601N 30th Street, Suite 6730, Omaha, NE 68131, USA

3 Institute of Acupuncture Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, South Small Street 16, Dongzhimennei, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100700, China

4 Hospital of T.C.M, Shijingshan District, Bajiao North Road, Shijingshan District, Beijing 100041, China

5 Jiangxi College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yunwan Road 18, Wanli District, Nanchang City, Jiangxi 330004, China

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:67  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-67

Published: 28 May 2012

Abstract

Background

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of herbal medicines, such as Radix Dipsaci (RDD), Pyrola Herb (PHD), and Cynomorium songaricum decoction (CSD), on osteoporotic rats induced by ovariectomy (OVX).

Methods

OVX or sham operations were performed on 69 virgin Wistar rats that were divided into six groups: sham (sham, n = 12), OVX control group (OVX, n = 12), and OVX rats with treatments (diethylstilbestrol, E2, n = 12; RDD, n = 11, PHD, n = 11, and CSD, n = 11). Non-surgical rats served as normal control (NC, n = 12). The treatments began four weeks after surgery and lasted for 12 weeks. Bone mass and bone turnover were analyzed by histomorphometry. Levels of protein expression and mRNA of OPG and RANKL in osteoblasts (OB) and bone marrow stromal cells (bMSC) were evaluated by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization.

Results

Compared to NC and sham rats, trabecular bone formation was significantly reduced in OVX rats, but restored in E2-treated rats. Treatment with either RDD or PHD enhanced trabecular bone formation remarkably. No significant change of bone formation was observed in CSD-treated rats. OPG expression of protein and mRNA was reduced significantly in OB and bMSC of OVX control rats. RANKL expression of protein and mRNA was increased significantly in OB and bMSC of OVX control rats. These effects were substantially reversed (increased in OPG and decreased in RANKL) by treatment with E2, RDD, or PHD in OB and bMSC of OVX rats. No significant changes in either OPG or RANKL expression were observed in OB and bMSC of OVX rats treated with CSD.

Conclusions

Our study showed that RDD and PHD increased bone formation by stimulating overexpression of OPG and downregulation of RANKL in OB and bMSC. This suggests that RDD and PHD may be used as alternative therapeutic agents for postmenopausal osteoporosis.