Objective: Although curcumin has a protective effect on bone remodeling, appropriate therapeutic concentrations of curcumin are not well known as therapeutic drugs for osteoporosis. The purpose of this study was to compare the bone sparing effect of treatment of low-dose and high-dose curcumin after ovariectomy in rats.
Methods: Forty female Sprague-Dawley rats underwent either a sham operation (the sham group) or bilateral ovariectomy (OVX). The ovariectomized animals were randomly distributed among three groups; untreated OVX group, low-dose (10 mg/kg) curcumin administered group, and high-dose (50 mg/kg) curcumin group. At 4 and 8 weeks after surgery, serum biochemical markers of bone turnover were analyzed. Bone histomorphometric parameters of the 4th lumbar vertebrae were determined by micro-computed tomography (CT). In addition, mechanical strength was determined by a three-point bending test.
Results: High-dose curcumin group showed significantly lower osteocalcin, alkaline phosphatase, and the telopeptide fragment of type I collagen C-terminus concentration at 4 and 8 weeks compared with the untreated OVX group as well as low-dose curcumin group. In the analyses of micro-CT scans of 4th lumbar vertebrae, the high-dose curcumin treated group showed a significant increase in bone mineral densities (p=0.028) and cortical bone mineral densities (p=0.036) compared with the low-dose curcumin treated group. Only high-dose curcumin treated group had a significant increase of mechanical strength compared with the untreated OVX group (p=0.015).
Conclusion: The present study results demonstrat that a high-dose curcumin has therapeutic advantages over a low-dose curcumin of an antiresorptive effect on bone remodeling and improving bone mechanical strength.
Keywords: Curcumin; Micro-computed tomography; Osteoporosis; Ovariectomy; Rat.