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Osteoporos Int. 2012 Sep;23(9):2347-57. doi: 10.1007/s00198-011-1842-4. Epub 2011 Dec 13.

Prevention of disuse osteoporosis in rats by Cordyceps sinensis extract.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, No 15 Changle West Road, Xi'an, China.


Cordyceps sinensis has been known as a traditional medicine in China, and C. sinensis plus strontium could prevent osteoporosis in ovariectomized rats. The present study shows that daily oral administration of C. sinensis at higher doses in adult hind limb suspension rats can prevent disuse-induced bone loss and deterioration of trabecular microarchitecture.


Cordyceps sinensis induces estradiol production and prevents osteoporosis in ovariectomized rats. This study was to examine whether C. sinensis can prevent disuse-induced osteoporosis.


Rats were randomly divided into six groups, and five groups were treated with hind limb suspension (HLS). One HLS group received alendronate (2.0 mg/kg/day) orally, and to the three other HLS groups to each group, a different amount of C. sinensis (100, 300, and 500 mg/kg/day) was orally administered for 8 weeks before and after HLS. The remaining HLS group was set as a control without treatment. Each group consisted of 10 males and females. The body weights, biochemical parameters in serum and urine, bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC), mechanical testing, and bone microarchitecture were examined.


Treatments with higher C. sinensis dosage (300 and 500 mg/kg/day) or alendronate had a positive effect on body weights, mechanical strength, BMD, and BMC compared to the other HLS groups. C. sinensis decreased markers of bone turnover dose dependently and increased the osteocalcin levels in HLS rats. The result of micro-CT analysis from the L4 vertebra showed that C. sinensis (500 mg/kg) significantly prevented the reduction of the bone volume fraction, connectivity density, trabeculae number, and thickness as well as improved the trabeculae separation and structure model index in HLS rats.


The present study demonstrates that administration of C. sinensis at higher doses over an 8-week period can prevent the disuse osteoporosis in rats. It implies that C. sinensis might be an alternative therapy for prevention of disuse-induced osteoporosis also in humans.

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