This study evaluated the effects of vitamin C on osteogenic differentiation and osteoclast formation, and the effects of vitamin C concentration on bone microstructure in ovariectomized (OVX) Wistar rats. Micro-computed tomography analysis revealed the recovery of bone mineral density and bone separation in OVX rats treated with vitamin C. Histomorphometrical analysis revealed improvements in the number of osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and osteocytes; the osteoblast and osteoclast surface per bone surface; and bone volume in vitamin C-treated OVX rats. The vitamin C-treated group additionally displayed an increase in the expression of osteoblast differentiation genes, including bone morphogenetic protein-2, small mothers against decapentaplegic 1/5/8, runt-related transcription factor 2, osteocalcin, and type I collagen. Vitamin C reduced the expression of osteoclast differentiation genes, such as receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B, receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase, and cathepsin K. This study is the first to show that vitamin C can inhibit osteoporosis by promoting osteoblast formation and blocking osteoclastogenesis through the activation of wingless-type MMTV integration site family/β-catenin/activating transcription factor 4 signaling, which is achieved through the serine/threonine kinase and mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways. Therefore, our results suggest that vitamin C improves bone regeneration.
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