Yutong Li 1 2, Yongfeng Zhang 3, Xinrui Zhang 3, Wenqian Lu 3, Xin Liu 3, Min Hu 1 2, Di Wang 3
Osteoporosis is a metabolic disease characterized by reduced osteoblast differentiation and proliferation. Oxidative stress plays a role in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis. Aucubin (AU), an iridoid glycoside, was previously shown to promote osteoblast differentiation. We investigated the effects of AU on MG63 human osteoblast-like cells treated with dexamethasone (Dex) or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to induce oxidative damage. AU protected MG63 cells against apoptosis, and promoted increased expression of cytokines associated with osteoblast differentiation, including collagen I, osteocalcin (OCN), osteopontin (OPN), and osterix. In Dex- and H2O2-treated MG63 cells, AU also enhanced the expression of anti-oxidative stress-associated factors in the nuclear respiratory factor 2 signaling pathway, including superoxide dismutases 1 and 2, heme oxygenases 1 and 2, and catalase. In vivo, using a Dex-induced mouse model of osteoporosis, AU promoted increased cortical bone thickness, increased bone density, and tighter trabecular bone. Additionally, it stimulated an increase in the expression of collagen I, OCN, OPN, osterix, and phosphorylated Akt and Smads in bone tissue. Finally, AU stimulated the expression of cytokines associated with osteoblast differentiation in bone tissue and serum. Our data indicate AU may have therapeutic efficacy in osteoporosis.