Beta-ecdysterone induces osteogenic differentiation in mouse mesenchymal stem cells and relieves osteoporosis

Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Dec;31(12):2245-9. doi: 10.1248/bpb.31.2245.


The effect on bone tissue of beta-ecdysterone, a type of ecdysteroid found in many plants, has not been previously investigated. In this study, we found that beta-ecdysterone treatment significantly induced alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity in mesenchymal stem cells in a dose-dependent manner. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) showed that Runx2, osteocalcin, and type I collagen expression also increased. ICI182780, a specific estrogen receptor antagonist, inhibited the upregulation of ALP activity. Moreover, beta-ecdysterone promoted estrogen receptor (ER) reporter gene activity; however, ICI182780 reversed its effect, suggesting that beta-ecdysterone has stimulatory effects on osteogenic differentiation via the ER. Furthermore, beta-ecdysterone alleviated osteoporosis symptoms in a mouse model without obvious side effects. Therefore beta-ecdysterone may be a promising candidate drug for the treatment of osteoporosis.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Azo Compounds
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents*
  • Bone and Bones / chemistry
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Coloring Agents
  • Ecdysterone / pharmacology*
  • Ecdysterone / therapeutic use*
  • Genes, Reporter / drug effects
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Osteogenesis / drug effects*
  • Osteoporosis / chemically induced
  • Osteoporosis / pathology
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / drug effects
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Transfection
  • Tretinoin


  • Azo Compounds
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Coloring Agents
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Ecdysterone
  • Tretinoin
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • thiazolyl blue
  • oil red O