Category Archives: Phytoestrogens

Cladrin Increases Osteoblast Prolifertion in Rats


Differential effects of formononetin and cladrin on osteoblast function, peak bone mass achievement and bioavailability in rats.

Dietary soy isoflavones including genistein and daidzein have been shown to have favorable effects during estrogen deficiency in experimental animals and humans. We have evaluated osteogenic effect of cladrin and formononetin, two structurally related methoxydaidzeins found in soy food and other natural sources. Cladrin, at as low as 10 nM, maximally stimulated both osteoblast proliferation and differentiation by activating MEK-Erk pathway. On the other hand, formononetin maximally stimulated osteoblast differentiation at 100 nM that involved p38 MAPK pathway but had no effect on osteoblast proliferation. Unlike daidzein, these two compounds neither activated estrogen receptor in osteoblast nor had any effect on osteoclast differentiation. Daily oral administration of each of these compounds at 10.0 mg kg(-1) day(-1) dose to recently weaned female Sprague-Dawley rats for 30 consecutive days, increased bone mineral density at various anatomic positions studied. By dynamic histomorphometry of bone, we observed that rats treated with cladrin exhibited increased mineral apposition and bone formation rates compared with control, while formononetin had no effect. Cladrin had much better plasma bioavailability compared with formononetin. None of these compounds exhibited estrogen agonistic effect in uteri. Our data suggest that cladrin is more potent among the two in promoting parameters of peak bone mass achievement, which could be attributed to its stimulatory effect on osteoblast proliferation and better bioavailability. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to elucidate structure-activity relationship between the methoxylated forms of daidzein and their osteogenic effects.

Gautam AK, Bhargavan B, Tyagi AM, Srivastava K…
J. Nutr. Biochem. Apr 2011
PMID: 20579866

Cladrin Increases Bone Formation and Strength in Rats


Positive skeletal effects of cladrin, a naturally occurring dimethoxydaidzein, in osteopenic rats that were maintained after treatment discontinuation.

Effects of cladrin treatment and withdrawal in osteopenic rats were studied. Cladrin improved trabecular microarchitecture, increased lumbar vertebral compressive strength, augmented coupled remodeling, and increased bone osteogenic genes. A significant skeletal gain was maintained 4 weeks after cladrin withdrawal. Findings suggest that cladrin has significant positive skeletal effects.
We showed that a standardized extract of Butea monosperma preserved trabecular bone mass in ovariectomized (OVx) rats. Cladrin, the most abundant bioactive compound of the extract, promoted peak bone mass achievement in growing rats by stimulating osteoblast function. Here, we studied the effects of cladrin treatment and withdrawal on the osteopenic bones.
Adult female Sprague-Dawley rats were OVx and left untreated for 12 weeks to allow for significant estrogen deficiency-induced bone loss, at which point cladrin (1 and 10 mg/kg/day) was administered orally for another 12 weeks. Half of the rats were killed at the end of the treatments and the other half at 4 weeks after treatment withdrawal. Sham-operated rats and OVx rats treated with PTH or 17β-estradiol (E2) served as various controls. Efficacy was evaluated by bone microarchitecture using microcomputed tomographic analysis and fluorescent labeling of bone. qPCR and western blotting measured mRNA and protein levels in bone and uterus. Specific ELISA was used for measuring levels of serum PINP and urinary CTx.
In osteopenic rats, cladrin treatment dose dependently improved trabecular microarchitecture, increased lumbar vertebral compression strength, bone formation rate (BFR), cortical thickness (Cs.Th), serum PINP levels, and expression of osteogenic genes in bones; and reduced expression of bone osteoclastogenic genes and urinary CTx levels. Cladrin had no uterine estrogenicity. Cladrin at 10 mg/kg maintained acquired skeletal gains 4 weeks after withdrawal. Cladrin had positive skeletal effects in osteopenic rats that were maintained after treatment withdrawal.

Khan K, Sharan K, Swarnkar G, Chakravarti B…
Osteoporos Int Apr 2013
PMID: 22932734

Soy Isoflavones + Vitamin D3 Improve Bone Density, Stimulate Osteoblasts, and Inhibit Osteoclasts in Ovariectomized Rats


Combined effect of soy isoflavones and vitamin D3 on bone loss in ovariectomized rats.

Several studies have shown that soy isoflavones have estrogen-like activities and might constitute an alternative to hormone replacement treatment. The present study investigated the effects of soy isoflavones alone and combined with vitamin D3 on prevention of bone loss.
Sprague-Dawley rats were sham-operated (n = 8) or ovariectomized (OVX; n = 40), and then the OVX rats were randomly assigned to five groups that were untreated or treated for 14 wk with vitamin D3, 17β-estradiol, soy isoflavone extract (SIE), or vitamin D3 plus SIE. The effects of the isoflavones and 1α,25(OH)(2)D(3) on cultured osteoblasts and osteoclasts also were investigated.
In OVX rats, the bone mineral density and trabecular bone volume loss were improved by 17β-estradiol, SIE, or SIE plus vitamin D3 treatment. SIE treatment was more effective than vitamin D3 or 17β-estradiol in inhibiting increases in serum tumor necrosis factor-α levels and osteoblast osteoprotegerin expression. SIE plus vitamin D3 was more effective in increasing osterix expression than each alone. Bone cell cultures showed that the isoflavones induced preosteoblasts to differentiate into osteoblasts and increased osteoblast mineralization. Isoflavones inhibited preosteoclasts and osteoclast proliferation and decreased osteoclast resorption. The combination of isoflavones plus 1α,25(OH)(2)D(3) showed additive effects on the increase in cell proliferation of cultured preosteoblasts.
Treatment with soy isoflavones might be an alternative to hormone replacement therapy in decreasing bone loss from postmenopausal estrogen deficiency. In addition, there are further effects on increasing transcription factor osterix expression and preosteoblast proliferation when these were combined with vitamin D3.

Chang KL, Hu YC, Hsieh BS, Cheng HL…
Nutrition Jan 2013
PMID: 22858193

Ferutinin Inhibits Resorption in Ovariectomized Rats


Effects of different doses of ferutinin on bone formation/resorption in ovariectomized rats.

This study analyzes the effects of different doses of ferutinin on bone loss caused by estrogen deficiency in ovariectomized rats, in comparison with estradiol benzoate. Thirty female Sprague-Dawley rats were ovariectomized and treated for 30 days from the day after ovariectomy. Static/dynamic histomorphometric analyses were performed on trabecular and cortical bone of lumbar vertebrae and femurs. Very low weight increments were recorded only in all F-OVX groups, with respect to the others. Although the great differences in weight, that could imply a decrease of bone mass in F-OVX groups compared to the control ovariectomized group (C-OVX), trabecular bone in lumbar vertebrae did not show significant differences, suggesting that ferutinin, opposing estrogen deficiency, inhibits bone resorption. Newly formed cortical bone was always low in all F-OVX groups and high in C-OVX, suggesting that it is mainly devoted in answering mechanical demands. In contrast, in distal femoral metaphyses, trabecular bone was reduced and the number of osteoclasts was increased in C-OVX with respect to all other groups, suggesting that it is mainly devoted in answering metabolic demands; moreover, ferutinin dose of 2 mg/kg seemed to be more effective than the lower doses used and estrogens, particularly in those skeletal regions with higher metabolic activity. Our results suggest that the role of ferutinin in preventing osteoporosis caused by estrogen deficiency is expressed in decreasing bone erosion; moreover, in all F-OVX groups bone turnover is very low and seems correlated to the trivial body weight increase, which, in turn, depends on ferutinin treatment.

Cavani F, Ferretti M, Carnevale G, Bertoni L…
J. Bone Miner. Metab. Nov 2012
PMID: 22828874

Genistein + EPA + DHA + Vitamin D + K1 Increases Bone Density in Postmenopausal Women


Effect of a combination of genistein, polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamins D3 and K1 on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind pilot study.

Many postmenopausal women desire non-pharmaceutical alternatives to hormone therapy for protection against osteoporosis. Soybean isoflavones, especially genistein, are being studied for this purpose. This study examined the effects of synthetic genistein in combination with other potential bone-protective dietary molecules on bone mineral density (BMD) in early postmenopausal women.
In this 6-month double-blind pilot study, 70 subjects were randomized to receive daily either calcium only or the geniVida™ bone blend (GBB), which consisted of genistein (30 mg/days), vitamin D3 (800 IU/days), vitamin K1 (150 μg/days) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (1 g polyunsaturated fatty acids as ethyl ester: eicosapentaenoic acid/docosahexaenoic acid ratio = ~2/1). Markers of bone resorption and formation and BMD at the femoral neck, lumbar spine, Ward’s triangle, trochanter and intertrochanter, total hip and whole body were assessed.
Subjects supplemented with the GBB (n = 30) maintained femoral neck BMD, whereas in the placebo group (n = 28), BMD significantly decreased (p = 0.007). There was also a significant difference (p < 0.05) in BMD between the groups at Ward’s triangle in favor of the GBB group. Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase and N-telopeptide significantly increased in the GBB group in comparison with those in baseline and in the placebo group. The GBB was well tolerated, and there were no significant differences in adverse events between groups.
The GBB may help to prevent osteoporosis and reduce fracture risk, at least at the hip, in postmenopausal women. Larger and longer-term clinical trials are warranted.

Lappe J, Kunz I, Bendik I, Prudence K…
Eur J Nutr Feb 2013
PMID: 22302614 | Free Full Text

Horny Goat Weed Phytoestrogens Maintain Bone Density Over 2 Years in Women


Epimedium-derived phytoestrogen flavonoids exert beneficial effect on preventing bone loss in late postmenopausal women: a 24-month randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled trial.

Epimedium brevicornum maxim, a nonleguminous medicinal plant, has been found to be rich in phytoestrogen flavonoids. Results from a 24-month randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial showed that Epimedium-derived phytoestrogen flavonoids were able to exert beneficial effects on preventing bone loss in late postmenopausal women, without resulting in a detectable hyperplasia effect on the endometrium.
We performed a 24-mo randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial for evaluating the effect of the Epimedium-derived phytoestrogen flavonoids (EPFs) on BMD, bone turnover biochemical markers, serum estradiol, and endometrial thickness in postmenopausal women.
One hundred healthy late postmenopausal women, with a natural menopausal history within 10 approximately 18 yr and with a BMD T-score at the lumbar spine between -2 and -2.5 SD, were randomized into EPF treatment group (n = 50; a daily dose of 60 mg Icariin, 15 mg Daidzein, and 3 mg Genistein) or placebo control group (n = 50). All participants received 300 mg element calcium daily. BMD, bone turnover biochemical markers, serum estradiol, and endometrial thickness were measured at baseline and 12 and 24 mo after intervention.
Eighty-five participants completed the trial. The patterns of BMD changes were significantly different between the EPF treatment group and placebo control group by repeated-measures ANOVA (p = 0.045 for interaction between time and group at femoral neck; p = 0.006 for interaction between time and group at lumbar spine). BMD was found with a decreased tendency in the placebo control group at 12 (femoral neck: -1.4%, p = 0.104; lumbar spine: -1.7%, p = 0.019) and 24 mo (femoral neck: -1.8%, p = 0.048; lumbar spine: -2.4%, p = 0.002), whereas EPF treatment maintained BMD at 12 (femoral neck: 1.1%, p = 0.285; lumbar spine:1.0%, p = 0.158) and 24 mo (femoral neck: 1.6%, p = 0.148; lumbar spine: 1.3%, p = 0.091). The difference in lumbar spine between the two groups was significant at both 12 (p = 0.044) and 24 mo (p = 0.006), whereas the difference in the femoral neck was marginal at 12 mo (p = 0.061) and significant at 24 mo (p = 0.008). Levels of bone biochemical markers did not change in the placebo control group. In contrast, EPF intervention significantly decreased levels of deoxypyrdinoline at 12 (-43%, p = 0.000) and 24 mo (-39%, p = 0.000), except for osteocalcin at 12 (5.6%, p = 0.530) and 24 mo (10.7%, p = 0.267). A significant difference in deoxypyrdinoline between the two groups was found at both 12 (p = 0.000) and 24 mo (p = 0.001). Furthermore, neither serum estradiol nor endometrial thickness was found to be changed in either groups during the clinical trial.
EPFs exert a beneficial effect on preventing bone loss in late postmenopausal women without resulting in a detectable hyperplasia effect on the endometrium.

Zhang G, Qin L, Shi Y
J. Bone Miner. Res. Jul 2007
PMID: 17419678

Diosgenin and Lovastatin Prevent Bone Loss in Ovariectomized Rat


Osteoprotective effect of Monascus-fermented dioscorea in ovariectomized rat model of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

This experiment established the ovariectomized (OVX) rat model of postmenopausal osteoporosis and examined the effect of the oral administration of different dosages of dioscorea, red mold dioscorea (RMD), and soy isoflavones on bone mineral density (BMD). Three months after osteoporosis had been induced and 4 weeks after feeding had begun, the tibia and femur BMD of OVX rats administered RMD showed significant increases compared with that of all other groups of OVX rats. Closer examination using microcomputed tomography also revealed that the RMD-administered rats had denser trabecular bone volume and a higher trabecular number compared to all other rat groups. Reconstructed 3D imaging indicated increases in cancellous bone mineral content, cancellous bone mineral density, and cortical bone mineral content of the proximal tibia in OVX rats. These findings indicate that administration of monacolin K and phytoestrogen diosgenin could prevent bone loss induced by estrogen deficiency.

Chiang SS, Chang SP, Pan TM
J. Agric. Food Chem. Sep 2011
PMID: 21800902

Diosgenin Stimulates Bone Formation In Mouse Osteoblasts


Diosgenin stimulates osteogenic activity by increasing bone matrix protein synthesis and bone-specific transcription factor Runx2 in osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells.

Diosgenin, a steroid saponin extracted from the root of wild yam (Dioscorea villossa) is claimed to have osteogenic property. However, detailed studies providing evidence to this claim have not been fully undertaken. In this study, we investigated the effect of diosgenin on the osteogenesis of murine MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells. Cells were cultured with varying levels of diosgenin (0-10 μM) within 25 days of bone formation period. Diosgenin was found to stimulate proliferation within the range of 0.01-5 μM using MTT assay. The medium and cellular levels of Type 1 collagen and alkaline phosphatase (ALP), both of which are major bone matrix proteins, increased within the low range of diosgenin concentration (>0-3 μM), and this pattern was further confirmed by collagen and ALP staining of the extracellular matrix (ECM). The cellular protein expression of ALP and collagen Type 1 was also increased at 0.1-1 μM diosgenin treatment as analyzed by Western blot. Calcium deposition within the ECM also showed the same pattern as assessed by Alizarin Red S and Von Kossa staining. Bone-specific transcription factor runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) and Runx2-regulated osteopontin protein expressions were induced at low concentration (0.1-1 μM) and again decreased with high diosgenin concentrations. Based on our findings, our study suggests that diosgenin can enhance bone formation by stimulating the synthesis and secretion of Type 1 collagen and ALP and bone marker proteins Runx2 and osteopontin expression. The increased levels of these marker proteins, in turn, can increase the formation of calcium deposits within the ECM thereby increasing bone formation.

Alcantara EH, Shin MY, Sohn HY, Park YM…
J. Nutr. Biochem. Nov 2011
PMID: 21292464

Diosgenin Promotes Angiogenesis in Preosteoblast-Like Mouse Cells


Diosgenin induces hypoxia-inducible factor-1 activation and angiogenesis through estrogen receptor-related phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways in osteoblasts.

Diosgenin, extracted from the root of wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), has been reported to demonstrate an opportunity for medical application. Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) plays an important role in bone-related angiogenesis, a critical process occurring during bone formation and fracture healing. In this study, we examine whether diosgenin is able to induce VEGF-A expression and to promote angiogenesis in osteoblasts. For murine MC3T3-E1 preosteoblast-like cells, VEGF-A mRNA and protein expression seemed to be significantly elevated in response to diosgenin in a concentration-dependent fashion. Conditioned media prepared from cells treated with diosgenin induced strong angiogenic activity in either in vitro or ex vivo angiogenesis assay. Furthermore, diosgenin treatment increased the stability and activity of HIF-1alpha protein. Inhibition of HIF-1alpha activity by transfection with DN-HIF-1alpha significantly diminished diosgenin-mediated VEGF-A up-regulation. The use of pharmacological inhibitors or genetic inhibition revealed that both the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and p38 signaling pathways were potentially required for diosgenin-induced HIF-1 activation and subsequent VEGF-A up-regulation. It is noteworthy that an estrogen receptor binding assay revealed that diosgenin has the strong ability to replace [(3)H]estradiol bound to estrogen receptor (IC(50), 10 nM). In addition, the specific estrogen receptor antagonists ICI 182,780 (faslodex) and tamoxifen were noted to be able to strongly inhibit diosgenin-induced, src kinase-dependent Akt and p38 MAPK activation. Taken together, such results provide evidence that diosgenin up-regulates VEGF-A and promotes angiogenesis in preosteoblast-like cells by a hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha-dependent mechanism involving the activation of src kinase, p38 MAPK, and Akt signaling pathways via estrogen receptor.

Yen ML, Su JL, Chien CL, Tseng KW…
Mol. Pharmacol. Oct 2005
PMID: 15998873 | Free Full Text

DHEA or Diosgenin Prevents Bone Loss in Ovariectomized Rats


The use of estrogen, DHEA, and diosgenin in a sustained delivery setting as a novel treatment approach for osteoporosis in the ovariectomized adult rat model.

It is well established that the pattern of bone loss from the cortex in osteoporotic bone begins from the endosteal surface of the cortex, where there is enlargement of the medullary canal at the expense of the inner cortex. Bone loss does not occur at the periosteal surface. The objective of the following study was to induce osteoporosis in female rats by ovariectomy, followed by treatment with sustained delivery of Diosgenin (DG), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), or estrogen (E) after clinical signs of osteoporosis. Female Sprague Dawley rats were divided randomly into five groups containing four rats/group. Rats comprising group 1 were left intact and served as a control group. Animals in groups 2-5 were ovariectomized (OVX) and, after a 14 day delay to allow for induction of osteoporosis, were implanted with TCPL capsules containing DG, DHEA, and E, respectively. The experiment was ceased after 33 days of treatment, at which time the vital and reproductive organs for each group were collected, weighed, and analyzed histomorphometrically for differences. Further analysis of the progression of osteoporosis in the experimental animals was obtained by performing x-ray analysis of each group on a semi-weekly basis. By collecting and analyzing the femurs from each animal, we were also able to obtain important information about the histologic changes associated with osteoporosis (left femur), as well as data regarding the effects of osteoporosis on the mechanical strength of bone via three point bending analysis (right femur). The data generated by this study revealed important information as to the efficacy and safety of the alternative treatments DHEA, E, and DG for osteoporosis. First, histomorphometric analysis revealed that treatment with DHEA, E, and DG reduced the endosteal perimeter and cortical area to values very similar to controls (intact). Second, results of the bending stress and modulus in OVX and treated animals were not statistically different from the intact control animals, which suggests that the material properties of the bone were unaltered. Third, there is an increase in total body weight associated with OVX that is reduced to control levels after replacement therapy. Finally, OVX also resulted in reproductive tissue atrophy, which was reversed by all three of the treatment regimens in this study. These data suggest that bone loss after OVX can be significantly reduced by supplementation with sustained levels of DHEA, E, and DG without jeopardizing other body organs.

Higdon K, Scott A, Tucci M, Benghuzzi H…
Biomed Sci Instrum 2001
PMID: 11347403