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Phytomedicine. 2009 Apr;16(4):320-6. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2008.12.006. Epub 2009 Mar 6.

Antiosteoporotic activity of icariin in ovariectomized rats.

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Pharmaceutical Center of Yueyang Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200437, China.


Icariin was evaluated for its antiosteoporotic activity in an ovariectomized rat model of osteoporosis. The rats were divided into sham and OVX groups. The OVX rats were then subdivided into five groups treated with water, nylestriol (1 mg/kg body weight, weekly, orally) or icariin (ICA) (5, 25, and 125 mg/kg body weight, daily, orally) for 12 weeks. In OVX rats, the increases of body weight, serum BGP and ALP were significantly decreased by ICA treatment. In OVX rats, atrophy of uterus and descent of BMD were suppressed by treatment with ICA. In addition, ICA (125 mg/kg body weight) completely corrected the decreased serum concentration of Calcium, Phosphorus, and E(2) observed in OVX rats. ICA (125 mg/kg body weight) increased biomechanical strength significantly in comparison to the sham group. Histological results also showed its protective action through promotion of bone formation. The findings, assessed on the basis of biochemical, bone mineral density, biomechanical, and histopathological parameters, showed that ICA has a definite antiosteoporotic effect, similar to estrogen, especially effective for prevention bone fracture induced by estrogen deficiency.

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