Bone mass improved effect of icariin for postmenopausal osteoporosis in ovariectomy-induced rats: a meta-analysis and systematic review

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Ovariectomy (OVX)-induced rats are the most frequently used animal model to research postmenopausal osteoporosis. Our objective was to summarize and critically assess the bone mass improved effect of icariin (ICA) for treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis in an OVX-induced rat model.


The PUBMED, EMBASE, and Chinese databases were searched from their inception date to February 2015. Two reviewers independently selected animal studies that evaluated the bone mass improved effect of ICA compared with control in OVX-induced rats. Extracted data were analyzed by RevMan statistical software, and the methodological quality of each study was assessed.


Seven studies with adequate randomization were included in the systematic review. Overall, ICA seemed to significantly improve bone mass as assessed using the bone mineral density (seven studies, n = 169; weighted mean difference, 0.02; 95% CI, 0.01-0.02, I2 = 77%, P < 0.00001) using a random-effects model. There is no significant difference between ICA and estrogen (E) (six studies, n = 128; weighted mean difference, 0.00; 95% CI, −0.00 to 0.01, I2 = 54%, P = 0.01).


Bone mass improved effect of ICA for postmenopausal osteoporosis was observed in OVX-induced rats. Assessment of the methodological quality of studies involving OVX-induced animal models is required, and good methodological quality should be valued in systematic reviews of animal studies.

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