Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Potential anti-osteoporotic effects of herbal extracts on osteoclasts, osteoblasts and chondrocytes in vitro

Yoshiki Mukudai1*, Seiji Kondo1, Tomoyuki Koyama2, Chunnan Li13, Seika Banka1, Akiko Kogure2, Kazunaga Yazawa2 and Satoru Shintani1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, School of Dentistry, Showa University, 2-1-1 Kitasenzoku, Ota-ku, Tokyo 145-8515, Japan

2 Laboratory of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods Science, Graduate School of Marine Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, 4-5-7 Konan, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 108-8477, Japan

3 Medical College, Jinggangshan University, Ji’an, Jiangxi Province 343009, P.R. China

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:29  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-29

Published: 17 January 2014

Abstract

Background

Osteoporosis (OP) is one of the most serious diseases in the modern world, and OP patients frequently suffer from fragility fractures in the hip, spine and wrist, resulting in a limited quality of life. Although bisphosphonates (BPs) are the most effective class of anti-bone-resorptive drugs currently available and the most commonly prescribed for the clinical treatment of OP, they are known to cause serious side effects such as bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw. Novel therapeutic materials that can replace the use of BPs have therefore been developed.

Methods

We commenced an institutional collaborative project in which candidates of herbal extracts were selected from more than 400 bioactive herbal products for their potential therapeutic effects not only in OP, but also in oral and skeletal diseases. In the present study, we report on 3 Chinese medical herbal extracts from the root barks of Melia azedarach, Corydalis turtschaninovii, and Cynanchum atratum.

Results

All of these extracts inhibited osteoclast proliferation and induced apoptosis by up-regulation of caspase activity and increase of mitochondrial pro-apoptotic proteins expression. Furthermore, the extracts enhanced differentiation, but did not affect proliferation of both osteoblasts and chondrocytes. The osteo-inducible effect was also observed in cultured primary bone marrow cells.

Conclusions

Although these extracts have been utilized in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years, there are no reports to our knowledge, on their therapeutic effects in OP. In this study, we elucidate the potency of these herbal extracts as novel candidates for OP therapy.

Keywords:
Herbal extract; Osteoporosis; Osteoclast; Osteoblast; Shondrocyte; Traditional Chinese medicine