Labisia Pumila var. alata (LPva) has shown potential as an alternative to estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) in prevention of estrogen-deficient osteoporosis. In earlier studies using postmenopausal model, LPva was able to reverse the ovariectomy-induced changes in biochemical markers, bone calcium, bone histomorphometric parameters and biomechanical strength. The mechanism behind these protective effects is unclear but LPva may have regulated factors that regulate bone remodeling. The aim of this study is to determine the bone-protective mechanism of LPva by measuring the expressions of several factors involved in bone formative and resorptive activities namely Osteoprotegerin (OPG), Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor kappa-B Ligand (RANKL), Macrophage-Colony Stimulating Factor (MCSF) and Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 (BMP-2).
Thirty-two female Wistar rats were randomly divided into four groups: Sham-operated (Sham), ovariectomized control (OVXC), ovariectomized with Labisia pumila var. alata (LPva) and ovariectomized with ERT (Premarin®) (ERT). The LPva and ERT were administered via daily oral gavages at doses of 17.5 mg/kg and 64.5 μg/kg, respectively. Following two months of treatment, the rats were euthanized and the gene expressions of BMP-2, OPG, RANKL and MCSF in the femoral bones were measured using a branch - DNA technique.
The RANKL gene expression was increased while the OPG and BMP-2 gene expressions were reduced in the OVXC group compared to the SHAM group. There were no significant changes in the MCSF gene expressions among the groups. Treatment with either LPva or ERT was able to prevent these ovariectomy-induced changes in the gene expressions in ovariectomized rats with similar efficacy.
LPva may protect bone against estrogen deficiency-induced changes by regulating the RANKL, OPG and BMP-2 gene expressions.