Hesperidin inhibits ovariectomized-induced osteopenia and shows differential effects on bone mass and strength in young and adult intact rats.
The main aim of this study was to investigate the bone-sparing effect of hesperidin, one of the main flavonoid present in oranges, in two age groups of ovariectomized female rats, compared with their intact controls. Young (3 mo) and adult (6 mo) female Wistar rats were sham operated (SH) or ovariectomized (OVX) and then pair-fed for 90 days a casein-based diet supplemented or not with 0.5% hesperidin (Hp; n = 10/group). In older rats, Hp intake led to a partial inhibition of OVX-induced bone loss, whereas a complete inhibition was obtained in younger animals. At both ages, while plasma osteocalcin concentrations were unchanged, urinary excretion of deoxypyridinoline was reduced by Hp intake, suggesting that Hp was able to slow down bone resorption. Unexpectedly, in intact young rats, Hp consumption resulted in a significant increase in bone mineral density (BMD). Indeed, 6-mo-old HpSH rats had a similar BMD to 9-mo-old nontreated SH adult rats, suggesting an accelerated bone mass gain in the young rats. In contrast, in intact adult rats, Hp did not further increase BMD but did improve their bone strength. The results of this study show a protective effect of Hp on bone loss in OVX rats of both ages without uterine stimulation and accompanied by a lipid-lowering effect. The unexpected and intriguing findings obtained in intact rats showing improved BMD in young rats and improved femoral load in adult rats merit further investigation. The bone and lipid benefits of hesperidin make it an attractive dietary agent for the management of the health of postmenopausal women.