Isopropanolic extract of black cohosh stimulates osteoprotegerin production by human osteoblasts.
ABSTRACT An isopropanolic extract (iCR) from the rhizomes of Cimicifuga racemosa (black cohosh) is used an alternative in the treatment of menopausal symptoms, and animal studies suggest positive skeletal effects. iCR stimulated osteoblastic OPG protein secretion by 3- to 5-fold as early as 12 h without affecting RANKL expression. The iCR effect, abrogated by the pure estrogen receptor antagonist ICI 182,780, also enhanced ALP activity (4-fold) and osteocalcin expression (3-fold), possibly contributing to the skeletal effects of black cohosh.
Despite its positive effects on the skeleton, estrogen replacement therapy is no longer recommended as first-line therapy for the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis because it increases cardiovascular, thromboembolic, and breast cancer risk. Recently, herbal therapeutics such as an isopropanolic extract (iCR) from the rhizomes of Cimicifuga (=Actaea) racemosa (black cohosh) are gaining interest as an alternative in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Whereas animal studies in rats suggest positive skeletal effects, the mechanism of its actions on bone cells remain unclear. RANKL is essential for osteoclast formation and activation, while osteoprotegerin (OPG) neutralizes RANKL.
In this study, we assessed the effects of iCR on OPG and RANKL mRNA steady-state levels by semiquantitative RT-PCR and on protein production by an ELISA system in human osteoblasts (hOBs).
Under serum-free conditions, treatment with iCR increased OPG mRNA levels and protein secretion of hOBs by 2- to 3-fold in a dose-dependent manner, with a maximum effect at a 10(6)-fold dilution of iCR (p < 0.001) after 24-48 h. Time-course experiments indicated a stimulatory effect of iCR on osteoblastic OPG protein secretion by 3- to 5-fold (p < 0.001) as early as 12 h, whereas RANKL expression was very low and was not found to be modulated by iCR. Of note, the stimulatory effect of iCR on OPG production was abrogated by the pure estrogen receptor antagonist ICI 182,780. Moreover, iCR enhanced two osteoblastic differentiation markers, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase activity and osteocalcin expression, by up to 4- and 3-fold, respectively (p < 0.001).
Our data suggest that iCR enhances differentiation and increases the OPG-to-RANKL ratio of normal human osteoblasts. These effects may contribute to the positive skeletal effects of black cohosh.
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ABSTRACT: Female hormones are very important in regulating bone homeostasis; the drop of estrogen levels occurring at menopause is linked to a dramatic prevalence of bone resorption on formation. Only a small number of studies investigated the relationship between changes in circulating female sex hormones and the markers and mediators of bone homeostasis and they showed conflicting results. To explore such relationships we studied 20 young fertile healthy women, aged between 19 and 32 years. None had received hormone treatment for at least 6 months. We assayed luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, progesterone and 17β-estradiol, as well as the levels of osteoprotegerin (OPG), C-terminal telopeptide of collagen type I (CTx) and RANKL (receptor activator of nuclear factor-B ligand) in samples drawn from every subject at four different times during the menstrual cycle when estrogens are lowest, at the start of the cycle: T 0 (2-4th day); when estrogens are highest, in the pre-ovulatory period: T 14 (12-14th day); when progesterone activity is highest, in the advanced luteal phase: T 26 (24-26th day); and again at the start of the next cycle: T 01 (2-4th day). We observed that CTx levels are highest at the start of the cycle, decreased significantly from T 0 to T 26 (pfwe = 0.0455) and then increased from T 26 to T 01 (pfwe = 0.0415); OPG, on the other hand, which was also highest at the start of the cycle, decreased significantly from T 0 to T 14 (pfwe = 0.02) and then increased, though not significantly, from T 14 to T 01; no variation was observed in RANKL values at any time. We observed inverse correlations between estradiol and OPG levels, which became highly significant at T 01 between estradiol nadir and OPG peak levels (pfw = 0.0095). Furthermore, the increase of estradiol from T 0 to T 14 was negatively correlated with the concomitant decrease of OPG (pfwe = 0.0277), as was the fall of estradiol from T 26 to T 01 with the OPG peak levels, both at T 01 (pfw = 0.0045) and at T 0 (pfwe = 0.0381). We also observed direct correlations between the OPG levels and the variations of progesterone in the preceding intervals, but they never attained statistical significance. We conclude that OPG and CTx fluctuation during the menstrual cycle are likely due to the physiological variations of sex steroids levels.Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism 03/2013; · 2.22 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Estradiol could protect osteoblast against apoptosis, and apoptosis and autophagy were extensively and intimately connected. The aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that autophagy was present in osteoblasts under serum deprivation and estrogen protected against osteoblast apoptosis via promotion of autophagy. MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells were cultured in a serum-free and phenol red-free minimal essential medium (α-MEM). Ultrastructural analysis, lysosomal activity assessment and monodansycadaverine (MDC) staining were employed to determine the presence of autophagy, and real time PCR was used to evaluate the expression of autophagic markers. Meanwhile, the osteoblasts were transferred in a serum-free and phenol red-free α-MEM containing either vehicle or estradiol. Apoptosis and autophagy was assessed by using the techniques of real-time PCR, Western blot, immunofluorescence assay, and flow cytometry. The possible pathway through which estrogen promoted autophagy in the serum-deprived osteoblasts was also investigated. Real-time PCR demonstrated the expression of LC3, beclin1 and ULK1 genes in osteoblasts under serum deprivation, and immunofluorescence assay verified high expression of proteins of these three autophagic bio-markers. Lysosomes and autolysosomes accumulated in the cytoplasm of osteoblasts were also detected under transmission electron microscopy, MDC staining and lysosomal activity assessment. Meanwhile, estradiol significantly decreased the expression of proteins of the bio-markers of apoptosis, and at the same time increased the expression of proteins of the bio-markers of autophagy in the serum-deprived osteoblasts. Furthermore, the estradiol-promoted autophagy in serum-deprived osteoblasts could be blocked by estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist (ICI 182780), and estradiol failed to rescue the cells pretreated with an inhibitor of vacuolar ATPase (bafilomycin A) from apoptosis. Serum deprivation resulted in apoptosis through activation of Caspase-3 and induced autophagy through inhibition of phospho-mammalian target of rapamycin (p-mTOR). Both 3-methyladenine (3MA) and U0126 led to increase of apoptosis in osteoblasts with serum deprivation. Estradiol failed to over-ride the inhibitory effect of 3MA on phosphorylation of AKT but directly led to dephosphorylation of mTOR and upregulation of LC3 protein expression. However, the estradiol-enhanced LC3 protein expression was significantly suppressed by U0126 through inhibition of phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). Estradiol rescued osteoblast apoptosis via promotion of autophagy through the ER-ERK-mTOR pathway.Apoptosis 06/2013; · 4.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study aims to evaluate the effects of Remifemin (isopropanolic extract of Cimicifuga Racemosa) on postmenopausal osteoporosis. 120 female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to four groups: sham surgery with vehicle, ovariectomy with vehicle, ovariectomy with estradiol valerate, or ovariectomy with Remifemin. Daily oral administrations of the vehicle, estradiol valerate, or Remifemin began 2 weeks after surgery and lasted to 4, 8, or 12 weeks. Ten rats in each group were sacrificed at each timestep with assessment of bone mineral density, trabecular bone structure, and biomechanical parameters of the femur and lumbar vertebra. Bone turnover markers were evaluated 12 weeks after surgery. Both drugs prevented bone density loss in the distal end of the femur and preserved the trabecular bone structure in both the lumbar vertebra and distal end of the femur following ovariectomy. Both drugs protected bone stiffness at the tested regions and reduced bone reabsorption in ovariectomized rats. The preventive effects of Remifemin against bone-loss can rival those of estradiol valerate if treatment duration is adequately extended. In conclusion, Remifemin may demonstrate equivalent effects to estradiol valerate in terms of preventing postmenopausal osteoporosis.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(12):e82815. · 3.73 Impact Factor