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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Nigella Sativa reverses osteoporosis in ovariectomized rats

Ansam Aly Seif

Author Affiliations

Physiology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Abbassiya, Cairo, Egypt

Postal address: 12 Abdullah Abu Elseoud Street, Triumph, Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:22  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-22

Published: 14 January 2014

Abstract

Background

Osteoporosis poses a significant public health issue. It is a skeletal disorder characterized by compromised bone strength that predisposes to increased risk of fracture. There is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen after menopause and the development of osteoporosis. About 33% of women over 50 will experience bone fractures as a result of osteoporosis. Nigella Sativa (NS) has been shown to have beneficial effects on bone and joint diseases. The present study was conducted to elucidate the protective effect of Nigella Sativa on osteoporosis produced by ovariectomy in rats.

Methods

Female Wistar rats aged 12–14 months were divided into three groups: sham-operated control (SHAM), ovariectomized (OVX), and ovariectomized supplemented with nigella sativa (OVX-NS) orally for 12 weeks; 4 weeks before ovariectomy and 8 weeks after. After 12 weeks, plasma levels of calcium (Ca+2), phosphorous (Pi), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), amino terminal collagen type 1 telopeptide, malondialdehyde (MDA), nitrates, nitric oxide surrogate, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) were measured. Histological examination of the liver and the tibia was conducted. Histomorphometric analysis of the tibia was also performed.

Results

OVX rats showed significant decrease in plasma Ca+2, accompanied by a significant increase in plasma ALP, amino terminal collagen type 1 telopeptide, MDA, nitrates, TNF-α and IL-6. These changes were reversed by NS supplementation in OVX-NS group to be near SHAM levels. Histological examination of the tibias revealed discontinuous eroded bone trabeculae with widened bone marrow spaces in OVX rats accompanied by a significant decrease in both cortical and trabecular bone thickness compared to Sham rats. These parameters were markedly reversed in OVX-NS rats. Histological examination of the liver showed mononuclear cellular infiltration and congestion of blood vessels at the portal area in OVX rats which were not found in OVX-NS rats.

Conclusion

Nigella sativa reverses osteoporosis in ovariectomized rats, which could be attributed to its high content of unsaturated fatty acids as well as its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Keywords:
Osteoporosis; Nigella sativa; Ovariectomy; Rats