In previous studies, we found that the consumption of legumes decreased bone turnover in ovariectomized rats. The purpose of the present study is to determine whether the protective effects on bone mineral density (BMD) and the microarchitecture of a diet containing legumes are comparable. In addition, we aim to determine their protective actions in bones by studying bone specific gene expression. Forty-two Sprague-Dawley rats are being divided into six groups during the 12 week study: 1) rats that underwent sham operations (Sham), 2) ovariectomized rats fed an AIN-93M diet (OVX), 3) ovariectomized rats fed an AIN-93M diet with soybeans (OVX-S), 4) ovariectomized rats fed an AIN-93M diet with mung beans (OVX-M), 5) ovariectomized rats fed an AIN-93M diet with cowpeas (OVX-C), and 6) ovariectomized rats fed an AIN-93M diet with azuki beans (OVX-A). Consumption of legumes significantly increased BMD of the spine and femur and bone volume of the femur compared to the OVX. Serum calcium and phosphate ratio, osteocalcin, expression of osteoprotegerin (OPG), and the receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL) ratio increased significantly, while urinary excretion of calcium and deoxypyridinoline and expression of TNF-α and IL-6 were significantly reduced in OVX rats fed legumes, compared to OVX rats that were not fed legumes. This study demonstrates that consumption of legumes has a beneficial effect on bone through modulation of OPG and RANKL expression in ovariectomized rats and that legume consumption can help compensate for an estrogen-deficiency by preventing bone loss induced by ovarian hormone deficiency.
Keywords: Bone mass density; bone-specific gene expression; cytokines; legumes; ovariectomized rats.