BioScience Trends. 2018;12(3):275-281. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2018.01046)

Mongolian Medicine echinops prevented postmenopausal osteoporosis and induced ER/AKT/ERK pathway in BMSCs.

Liu Y, Wang XY, Chang H, Gao XM, Dong CY, Li ZM, Hao JT, Wang JH, Fan QL


Hormone replacement medicine such as traditional Chinese medicine has proven to be effective in decreasing the risk of osteoporosis. Mongolian medicine echinops prevents osteoporosis, but its mechanism remains unclear. In this study, we explored the mechanism underlying echinops prevents and treats postmenopausal osteoporosis. Osteoporosis model was established by ovariectomy in rats. Rats were treated to Echinops (16.26, 32.5, or 65 mg/kg/day) by oral gavage for 3 months. Bone mineral density (BMD) was detected by micro-CT detection of left proximal medial metaphyseal tibia. Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and toluidine blue O staining were also performed. Serum levels of E2, ALP and testosterone were examined. Bone marrow-derived bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs) were isolated and treated with echinops-containing serum. Estrogen receptors (ER) including ERα and ERβ in bone specimens and BMSCs were detected by qRT-PCR. Cell viability and colon formation of BMSCs were detected. Expressions of ERα, ERβ, AKT, p-AKT, ERK, and p-ERK in BMSCs were detected by western blot. Results showed that echinops significantly increased trabecular interconnectivity, thickness of trabeculae, and connection of trabecula. Echinops significantly increased BMD and E2, but significantly reduced ALP and testosterone in dose-dependent manners. Echinops induced ERα and ERβ in both bone specimens and BMSCs. Echinops enhanced cell viability and ability of colony formation of BMSCs, and increased ERα, ERβ, p-AKT, and p-ERK. Thus, Mongolian echinops reduced bone loss and delayed the occurrence and development of osteoporosis, and increased ERα, ERβ, p-AKT, and P-ERK in BMSCs. These results provide experimental basis for clinical prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis by echniops.

KEYWORDS: Osteoporosis, echinops, ERα, ERβ, AKT/ERK pathway

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