Psoralidin, a prenylated coumestan, as a novel anti-osteoporosis candidate to enhance bone formation of osteoblasts and decrease bone resorption of osteoclasts

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Traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) have been proven to prevent osteoporosis, but their clinical applications are not widely recognized due to their complicated ingredients. Psoralidin, a prenylated coumestan, has been reported to prevent bone loss of ovariectomized rats, but detailed mechanisms are still not clear. In current study, we found that both psoralidin and coumestrol promoted osteoblast proliferation and differentiation, as evidenced by improvements in cell proliferation and alkaline phosphatase activity; increased formation of ALP colonies and calcified nodules; enhanced secretion of collagen-I, BMP-2, osteocalcin and osteopontin; and stimulation of the expression of IGF-1, β-catenin, Runx-2, Osterix, and OPG, as well as the mRNA ratio of OPG/RANKL, while significantly decreasing the expression of RANKL. In addition, both psoralidin and coumestrol inhibited osteoclast formation and osteoclastic bone resorption, as demonstrated by the lower tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase activity and smaller area, with fewer resorption pits formed. Interestingly, psoralidin showed much stronger effects than coumestrol at enhancing osteoblast proliferation/differentiation or inhibiting osteoclast differentiation and bone resorption. Moreover, we found that both psoralidin and coumestrol suppressed COX-2 and ROS production in rat osteoblastic calvarias cells, and psoralidin showed stronger effects than coumestrol. Furthermore, we detected that by blocking estrogen receptors with ICI 182.780 (an estrogen receptor antagonist), the osteoprotective effects of psoralidin and coumestrol were also blocked. Our findings demonstrated that psoralidin and coumestrol exert their bone-protective effects by enhancing bone formation of osteoblasts and inhibiting bone resorption of osteoclasts. These roles might be mediated by their antioxidant activity and transduced through estrogen receptor signaling.

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