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BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Oct 24;13:277. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-277.

Si-Wu-tang extract stimulates bone formation through PI3K/Akt/NF-κB signaling pathways in osteoblasts.

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  • 1Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Science, China Medical University, No, 91, Hsueh-Shih Road, Taichung, Taiwan.



Si-Wu-Tang (SWT), a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) formula, is widely used for the treatment of gynopathies diseases such as menstrual discomfort, climacteric syndrome, dysmenorrhea, and other estrogen-related diseases. Recent studies have shown that SWT can treat primary dysmenorrhea, have anti-pruritic anti-inflammatory effects, and protect against radiation-induced bone marrow damage in an animal model. It has been reported that anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant agents have the potential to treat osteoporosis by increasing bone formation and/or suppressing bone resorption. However, the effect of SWT on bone cell function has not yet been reported.


Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP)-2, and osteopontin (OPN) mRNA expression was analyzed by qPCR. The mechanism of action of SWT extract was investigated using western blotting. The in vivo anti-osteoporotic effect of SWT extract was assessed in ovariectomized mice.


Here, we report that SWT increases ALP, BMP-2, and OPN expression as well as bone mineralization. In addition, we show that the PI3K, Akt, and NF-κB signaling pathways may be involved in the SWT-mediated increase in gene expression and bone mineralization. Notably, treatment of mice with SWT extract prevented bone loss induced by ovariectomy in vivo.


SWT may be used to stimulate bone formation for the treatment of osteoporosis.

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