The effect of licochalcone A on cell-aggregates ECM secretion and osteogenic differentiation during bone formation in metaphyseal defects in ovariectomized rats

Biomaterials. 2014 Mar;35(9):2789-97. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.12.061. Epub 2014 Jan 15.


Treatment of weight-bearing bones fractures with defects is critical for patients with osteoporosis's rehabilitation. Although various tissue engineering methods were reported, the best treating strategy for tissue engineering remains to be identified as the limitation of enhancing the ability of the osteogenetic differentiation potential of seed cell is one of the cardinal issues to be solved. The objective of this study is to investigate the feasibility of applying licochalcone-A (L-A) and bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSC)-aggregate in bone repairing tissue engineering and further study the biological effects of L-A on the cell aggregate formation and osteogenic properties. 80 female Sprague Dawley rats underwent bilateral ovariectomy were made with a 3.5 mm femurs bone defects without any fixation. These rats were then randomly assigned to five different treatment groups: (1) empty defect (n = 16), (2) CA-LA (n = 16), (3) CA-N (n = 16), (4) CA-L (n = 16), (5) CA-S (n = 16) and 16 female SD rats were treated as a control. Data showed that L-A administrated cell aggregate had a stronger osteogenic differentiation and mineralized formation potential than non-administrated group both in vitro and in vivo. For in vitro study, L-A administrated group had a more significant expression of ECM, osteogenic associated maker in addition with more mineralized area and higher ALP activity compared with the control group. For in vivo study, 3D reconstruction of micro-CT, HE staining and bone strength results showed that newly formed bone in groups administrated by L-A was significant higher than that in Sham group at 2, 4, 8 and 12 weeks after transplantation, especially for groups which was systematically injected with L-A at 8 weeks. Results of our study demonstrated that LA could positively affect cell behavior in cell-aggregate engineering and could be a promising strategy in treating osteoporotic weight-bearing bones fractures with defects.

Keywords: Bone regeneration; Cell aggregate; Licochalcone A; Mesenchymal stem cells; Osteoporosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Cell Aggregation / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects*
  • Chalcones / pharmacology*
  • Extracellular Matrix / drug effects
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Femur / pathology*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Osteogenesis / drug effects*
  • Ovariectomy*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Wound Healing / drug effects
  • X-Ray Microtomography


  • Chalcones
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • licochalcone A