Menú Cerrar

Shikonin mitigates ovariectomy-induced bone loss and RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis via TRAF6-mediated signaling pathways

Chen K1Yan Z2Wang Y3Yang Y4Cai M5Huang C6Li B7Yang M8Zhou X9Wei X10Yang C11Chen Z12Zhai X13Li M14.

Biomed Pharmacother. 2020 Apr 6;126:110067. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2020.110067. [Epub ahead of print]




Postmenopausal osteoporosis results from estrogen withdrawal and is characterized mainly by bone resorption. Shikonin is a bioactive constitute of Chinese traditional herb which plays a role in antimicrobial and antitumor activities. The study was designed to investigate the role of shikonin on postmenopausal osteoporosis and explore its underlying mechanisms.


Immunofluorescence staining was performed to evaluate the effects of shikonin on actin ring formation. The expression levels of the nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway were determined by Western blot analysis. To determine whether shikonin influences the receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL)-induced association between receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK) and tumor necrosis factor receptor associated factor 6 (TRAF6), immunofluorescence staining and immunoprecipitation experiments were performed. During our validation model, histomorphometric examination and micro-computed tomography (CT) were conducted to assess the morphology of osteoporosis.


Shikonin prevented bone loss by inhibiting osteoclastogenesis in vitro and improving bone loss in ovariectomized mice in vivo. At the molecular level, Western blot analysis indicated that shikonin inhibited the phosphorylation of inhibitor of NF-κB (IκB), P50, P65, extracellular regulated protein kinases (ERK), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and P38. Interaction of TRAF6 and RANK was prevented, and downstream MAPK and NF-κB signaling pathways were downregulated.


Osteoclastic bone resorption was reduced in the presence of shikonin in vitro and in vivo. Shikonin is a promising candidate for treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.