Du-zhong (Eucommia ulmoides) prevents disuse-induced osteoporosis in hind limb suspension rats

Am J Chin Med. 2014;42(1):143-55. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X14500104.


Du-Zhong has a long history of being used in traditional Chinese formulas to treat bone related diseases. The objective of the present study is to systematically investigate the effects of Du-Zhong cortex extract (DZCE) on disuse-induced osteoporosis. Rats were randomly divided into four groups, and three groups were treated with hind limb suspension (HLS). Control and HLS group received deionized distilled water, while the other two groups received alendronate (2.0 mg/kg/day) and DZCE (300 mg/kg/day) respectively by intragastric gavage for six weeks (two weeks prior to and during the four weeks of HLS). Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, assay of biochemical markers, and three-point bending test were employed to determine the effect of various treatments on bone mass, turnover, and strength. The trabecular bone microarchitecture was assessed by microCT analysis. DZCE could effectively prevent the bone loss induced by HLS, which was indicated by decreased levels of bone turnover markers as well as the changes in urinary calcium and phosphorus. The DZCE treatment also enhanced the biomechanical strength of bone and prevented the deterioration of trabecular bone microarchitecture. DZCE administration was able to prevent disuse-induced osteoporosis by regulating the bone metabolism, suggesting that DZCE could be used as an alternative therapy for the prevention of disuse-induced osteoporosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / drug effects
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Calcium / urine
  • Eucommiaceae*
  • Hindlimb Suspension / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Osteoporosis / etiology*
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control*
  • Phosphorus / urine
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Bark
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • X-Ray Microtomography


  • Plant Extracts
  • Phosphorus
  • Calcium