To assess the ability of traditional Chinese medicine Cistanches Herba extract (CHE) to prevent bone loss in the ovariectomized (OVX) rat, Cistanches Herba extract (CHE) was administered intragastrically to the rats. Female rats were anesthetized with pentobarbital sodium (40 mg kg(-1), i.p.), and their ovaries were removed bilaterally. The rats in the sham-operated group were anesthetized, laparotomized, and sutured without removing their ovaries. After 1 week of recovery from surgery, the OVX rats were randomly divided into three groups and orally treated with H(2)O (OVX group) or CHE (100 or 200 mg kg(-1) daily) for 3 months. The sham-operated group (n = 8) was orally treated with H(2)O. After 3 months, the total body bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC), Bone biomechanical index, blood mineral levels and blood antioxidant enzymes activities were examined in sham-operated, ovariectomized and Cistanches Herba extract treated rats. Results showed that Cistanches Herba extract treatment significantly dose-dependently enhanced bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC), maximum load, displacement at maximum load, stress at maximum load, load at auto break, displacement at auto break, and stress at auto break, and blood antioxidant enzymes activities, decreased blood Ca, Zn and Cu levels compared to the OVX group. This experiment demonstrates that the administration of Cistanches Herba extract to ovariectomized rats reverses bone loss and prevents osteoporosis.
Keywords: Cistanches Herba; antioxidant; bone; ovariectomy; rat.