Osteoporosis is characterized by bone loss. The present study aims to investigate the effects of bovine colostrum (BC) on bone metabolism using ovariectomized (OVX) and orchidectomized (ORX) rat models. Twenty-seven-week-old Wistar Han rats were randomly assigned as: (1) placebo control, (2) BC supplementation dose 1 (BC1: 0.5 g/day/OVX, 1 g/day/ORX), (3) BC supplementation dose 2 (BC2: 1 g/day/OVX, 1.5 g/day/ORX) and (4) BC supplementation dose 3 (BC3: 1.5 g/day/OVX, 2 g/day/ORX). Bone microarchitecture, strength, gene expression of VEGFA, FGF2, RANKL, RANK and OPG, and bone resorption/formation markers were assessed after four months of BC supplementation. Compared to the placebo, OVX rats in the BC1 group exhibited significantly higher cortical bone mineral content and trabecular bone mineral content (p < 0.01), while OVX rats in the BC3 group showed significantly higher trabecular bone mineral content (p < 0.05). ORX rats receiving BC dose 2 demonstrated significantly higher levels of trabecular bone mineral content (p < 0.05). Serum osteocalcin in the ORX was pointedly higher in all BC supplementation groups than the placebo (BC1: p < 0.05; BC2, BC3: p < 0.001). Higher doses of BC induced significantly higher relative mRNA expression of OPG, VEGFA, FGF2 and RANKL (p < 0.05). BC supplementation improves bone metabolism of OVX and ORX rats, which might be associated with the activation of the VEGFA, FGF2 and RANKL/RANK/OPG pathways.
Keywords: bone; bovine colostrum; osteoporosis; supplementation.