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Exp Ther Med. 2018 Dec;16(6):5047-5052. doi: 10.3892/etm.2018.6827. Epub 2018 Oct 3.

Epimedium protects steroid-induced avascular necrosis of femoral head in rats by inhibiting autophagy.

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Department of Orthopedics, Zhangjiagang Hospital Affiliated to Soochow University, Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu 215600, P.R. China.


The effect of epimedium extracting solution on bone mineral density (BMD) of steroid-induced avascular necrosis of femoral head (SANFH) in rats was evaluated to further explore its function mechanism. Twenty-four Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats (male/female: 1/1) were randomly divided into three groups: the control (n=8), the glucocorticoid (n=8) and the epimedium (n=8) group. Rats in the glucocorticoid and the epimedium group were injected with prednisolone acetate injection in gluteal muscles with 15 mg/kg/day twice a week. The epimedium group was given 10 ml/kg ephedra extracting solution containing crude drug with the concentration of 1.5 g/ml daily by gavage. After 6 weeks, all the experimental rats were sacrificed and materials were extracted. The expression of autophagy-related proteins were detected by observing the bone of the femoral head. After comparison of the control group with the model group in BMD, it was found that there were significant differences (P<0.05). There were no significant differences between the control and the epimedium group (P>0.05). Neither between the glucocorticoid and the epimedium group (P<0.05). Epimedium extracting solution can significantly enhance the BMD of femoral heads, prevent osteoporosis and lead to collapse, increase the expression of apoptotic and protective proteins and reduce the expression of autophagy-related proteins, thus providing a preliminary theoretical study for the prevention and treatment of SANFH.


autophagy; bone mineral density; epimedium; steroid-induced avascular necrosis of femoral head

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