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Open AccessArticle

Icariin Treatment Enhanced the Skeletal Response to Exercise in Estrogen-Deficient Rats

1
College of Physical Education, Yangzhou University, 88 Daxue South Rd, Yangzhou 225009, Jiangsu, China
2
College of Physical Education and Health Sciences, Zhejiang Normal University, 688 Yingbin Avenue, Jinhua 321004, Zhejiang, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3779; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193779
Received: 22 August 2019 / Revised: 7 September 2019 / Accepted: 2 October 2019 / Published: 8 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise and Chronic Disease)
Estrogen deficiency frequently leads to a fall in estrogen receptor-α (ERα) numbers and then reduces the skeletal response to mechanical strain. It, however, is still unclear whether phytoestrogen administration will enhance the effects of exercise on the estrogen-deficient bone loss. This study aimed to determine the effect of Icariin treatment on the response of osteogenic formation to exercise in ovariectomized (OVX) rats. Thirty-two 3-month old female Sprague–Dawley rats were randomly allocated into four groups: (1) Sham-operated (SO); (2) OVX; (3) OVX plus exercise (EX); and (4) OVX plus exercise and Icariin (EI). After 8-week interventions, the rats were killed and samples were collected for bone morphometry, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and Western blot analyses. EI interventions showed a greater improvement for the OVX-induced bone loss and the elevated serum tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) compared with EX only. Both EX and EI interventions bettered the OVX-related reduction of BV/TV and trabecular number and thickness, and decreased the enlargement of trabecular bone separation (Tb. Sp); the improvement for BV/TV and Tb. Sp was greater in EI group. Furthermore, EX and EI treatment significantly increased the number of ALP+ cells and mineralized nodule areas compared with OVX group; the change was higher in EI group. Additionally, in comparison to OVX rats, the protein and mRNA expression of β-catenin, phosphorylated-Akt (p-Akt) or Akt, ERα, and Runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) in osteoblasts were elevated in EX and EI intervention rats, with greater change observed in EI group. The upregulated β-catenin and Akt mRNA levels in EX and EI groups was depressed by ICI182780 treatment, and the difference in β-catenin and Akt mRNA levels between EX and EI groups was no longer significant. Conclusively, the combination of Icariin and exercise significantly prevent OVX-induced bone loss and increase osteoblast differentiation and the ability of mineralization compared with exercise alone; the changes might be regulated partly by ERα/Akt/β-catenin pathway. View Full-Text
Keywords: exercise; icariin; osteoporosis; estrogen; osteoblast exercise; icariin; osteoporosis; estrogen; osteoblast
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Zhao, R.; Bu, W.; Chen, Y. Icariin Treatment Enhanced the Skeletal Response to Exercise in Estrogen-Deficient Rats. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3779.

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