Potent inhibitory effect of Foeniculum vulgare Miller extract on osteoclast differentiation and ovariectomy-induced bone loss

Int J Mol Med. 2012 Jun;29(6):1053-9. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2012.950. Epub 2012 Mar 23.


Inhibition of osteoclast differentiation and bone resorption is considered an effective therapeutic approach to the treatment of postmenopausal bone loss. To find natural compounds that may inhibit osteoclastogenesis, we screened herbal extracts on bone marrow cultures. In this study, we found that an aqueous extract of Foeniculum vulgare Miller seed (FvMs) at low concentration, which has traditionally been used as a treatment for a variety of ailments, inhibits the osteoclast differentiation and bone resorptive activity of mature osteoclasts. We further investigated the effects of FvMs on ovariectomy (OVX)-induced bone loss using microcomputed tomography, biomechanical tests and serum marker assays for bone remodeling. Oral administration of FvMs (30 mg or 100 mg/kg/day) for 6 weeks had an intermediary effect on the prevention of femoral bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC), and other parameters compared to OVX controls. In addition, FvMs slightly decreased bone turnover markers that were accelerated by OVX. The bone-protective effects of FvMs may be due to suppression of an OVX-induced increase in bone turnover. Collectively, our findings indicate that FvMs have potential in preventing bone loss in postmenopausal osteoporosis by reducing both osteoclast differentiation and function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Bone Marrow Cells / pathology
  • Bone Resorption / drug therapy*
  • Bone Resorption / etiology
  • Bone Resorption / pathology
  • Bone Resorption / prevention & control*
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation* / drug effects
  • Female
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Femur / pathology
  • Femur / physiopathology
  • Foeniculum / chemistry*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Osteoclasts / drug effects
  • Osteoclasts / pathology*
  • Osteogenesis / drug effects
  • Ovariectomy*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • RANK Ligand / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • X-Ray Microtomography


  • Actins
  • Biomarkers
  • Plant Extracts
  • RANK Ligand
  • RNA, Messenger