This study assessed the effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) in a rat model of senile osteoporosis and the underlying molecular events. 24-month-old male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were randomly divided into control and PEMF groups (n = 8 per group) using a random digit table, while 3-month-old male SD rats were set as the young-age control group. Rats in the PEMF group were treated by PEMF for 40 min/day for 5 days/week. Bone mineral density/microarchitecture, level of serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BALP), tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b (TRACP5b), and Wnt/β-catenin signaling genes in rat bone marrow cells were then analyzed. The 12-week PEMF intervention showed a significant effect on inhibition of age-induced bone density loss and deterioration of trabecular bone structures in the PEMF group rats versus control rats, that is, the treatment enhanced bone mineral density of the proximal femoral metaphysis and the fifth lumbar (L5) vertebral body and improved the proximal tibia and L4 vertebral body parameters using bone histomorphometry analysis. Furthermore, the BALP level in the bones was significantly increased, but the TRACP5b level was reduced in the PEMF group of rats versus control rats. PEMF also dramatically upregulated expression of Wnt3a, LRP5, β-catenin, and Runx2 but downregulated PPAR-γ expression in the aged rats. The results demonstrated that PEMF could prevent bone loss and architectural deterioration due to the improvement of bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cell differentiation and proliferation abilities and activating the Wnt signaling pathway. Future clinical studies are needed to validate these findings. © 2022 Bioelectromagnetics Society.
Keywords: Wnt/β-catenin signaling; bone architecture; bone loss; osteoporosis; pulsed electromagnetic field.
© 2022 Bioelectromagnetics Society.