Aim: Metabolic bone disorders and reduced bone mass are common complications in patients with biliary cirrhosis. As a result of there being no clear etiology, no specific therapy has been established yet. Previous studies have reported that quercetin, a plant-derived flavonoid, might improve bone quality. The present study was designed to investigate the effect of quercetin on bone strength of biliary cirrhotic rats.
Methods: Twenty-four male Sprague-Dawley rats aged 6-7 months were randomized into three groups of eight. One group served as control (sham operated), while the other two groups underwent a complete bile duct ligation (BDL). Four weeks after the operation, serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase were measured in animal blood samples to confirm the occurrence of cirrhosis in the BDL rats. Then, one of the BDL groups received placebo and the other one was injected once a day with 150 µmol/kg of quercetin for 4 weeks. At the end of the study, femora were removed and tested for bone strength and histomorphometric parameters. The serum levels of osteocalcin, C-terminal cross-linked telopeptide of type I collagen, calcium and phosphorus were determined as bone turnover markers.
Results: Femur breaking strength was dramatically lower in the BDL group compared with control. However, receiving quercetin could reverse the deteriorating effect of cirrhosis on bone strength of BDL rats. Quercetin could noticeably elevate osteocalcin as a bone formation marker.
Conclusion: These data suggest that quercetin can significantly improve bone strength particularly due to increasing bone formation in biliary cirrhosis.
© 2012 The Japan Society of Hepatology.