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Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Dec;31(12):2245-9.

Beta-ecdysterone induces osteogenic differentiation in mouse mesenchymal stem cells and relieves osteoporosis.

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Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Tsinghua University, Beijing, PR China.


The effect on bone tissue of beta-ecdysterone, a type of ecdysteroid found in many plants, has not been previously investigated. In this study, we found that beta-ecdysterone treatment significantly induced alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity in mesenchymal stem cells in a dose-dependent manner. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) showed that Runx2, osteocalcin, and type I collagen expression also increased. ICI182780, a specific estrogen receptor antagonist, inhibited the upregulation of ALP activity. Moreover, beta-ecdysterone promoted estrogen receptor (ER) reporter gene activity; however, ICI182780 reversed its effect, suggesting that beta-ecdysterone has stimulatory effects on osteogenic differentiation via the ER. Furthermore, beta-ecdysterone alleviated osteoporosis symptoms in a mouse model without obvious side effects. Therefore beta-ecdysterone may be a promising candidate drug for the treatment of osteoporosis.

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