Objective: Several studies have shown that soy isoflavones have estrogen-like activities and might constitute an alternative to hormone replacement treatment. The present study investigated the effects of soy isoflavones alone and combined with vitamin D3 on prevention of bone loss.
Methods: Sprague-Dawley rats were sham-operated (n = 8) or ovariectomized (OVX; n = 40), and then the OVX rats were randomly assigned to five groups that were untreated or treated for 14 wk with vitamin D3, 17β-estradiol, soy isoflavone extract (SIE), or vitamin D3 plus SIE. The effects of the isoflavones and 1α,25(OH)(2)D(3) on cultured osteoblasts and osteoclasts also were investigated.
Results: In OVX rats, the bone mineral density and trabecular bone volume loss were improved by 17β-estradiol, SIE, or SIE plus vitamin D3 treatment. SIE treatment was more effective than vitamin D3 or 17β-estradiol in inhibiting increases in serum tumor necrosis factor-α levels and osteoblast osteoprotegerin expression. SIE plus vitamin D3 was more effective in increasing osterix expression than each alone. Bone cell cultures showed that the isoflavones induced preosteoblasts to differentiate into osteoblasts and increased osteoblast mineralization. Isoflavones inhibited preosteoclasts and osteoclast proliferation and decreased osteoclast resorption. The combination of isoflavones plus 1α,25(OH)(2)D(3) showed additive effects on the increase in cell proliferation of cultured preosteoblasts.
Conclusion: Treatment with soy isoflavones might be an alternative to hormone replacement therapy in decreasing bone loss from postmenopausal estrogen deficiency. In addition, there are further effects on increasing transcription factor osterix expression and preosteoblast proliferation when these were combined with vitamin D3.
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