Tanshinol stimulates bone formation and attenuates dexamethasone-induced inhibition of osteogenesis in larval zebrafish

Luo, S., Yang, Y., Chen, J., Zhong, Z., Huang, H., Zhang, J., Cui, L.
Journal of orthopaedic translation   4: 35-45 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Zhang, Jingjing
glucocorticoid, osteogenesis, polyphenol, tanshinol, zebrafish
MeSH Terms
30035064 Full text @ J Orthop Translat
Tanshinol is the main active component of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge, a significant Traditional Chinese Medicine used to treat cardiovascular disease. We have shown that tanshinol exerts an antiosteoporostic effect via the enhancement of bone formation in vivo and in vitro. However, the mechanism remains unclear. Based on the polyphenol group in the structure of tanshinol, we speculate the protective action on skeletal tissue is related to antioxidative capacity. Our in vitro evidence indicated that tanshinol stimulated osteoblastic differentiation by its antioxidaive capacity. In this study, we aim to further confirm the effect of tanshinol on bone formation and the underlying mechanism in zebrafish in vivo.
We used a Danio rerio (zebrafish) model, which has a bone formation process similar to humans, and evaluated the relationship between the dose and the effect of tanshinol on bone formation determined using alizarin red S staining or fluorescence intensity analysis in normal and glucocorticoid (GC)-induced inhibition of an osteogenesis model using wild-type zebrafish and cortical bone transgenic zebrafish tg(sp7:egfp). The expression of osteoblast-specific genes and reactive oxygen species (ROS) were tested.
Our data showed that dexamethasone exerts a series of consequences, including the inhibition of bone formation, decrease of bone mass, downregulation of expression of osteoblast-specific genes (runx2a, ALP, osteocalcin, and sp7), as well as the accumulation of ROS generation and decreased capacity of antioxidants. Tanshinol showed a protective effect on promoting bone formation and bone mass both in wild-type larval zebrafish and transgenic zebrafish. Furthermore, tanshinol attenuated the inhibition of osteogenesis elicited by oxidative stress in the zebrafish exposed to dexamethasone.
The present findings suggest that tanshinol prevented decreased osteogenesis in GC-treated larval zebrafish via scavenging ROS and stimulated the expression of osteoblast-specific genes. Tanshinol treatment may be developed as a novel therapeutic approach under recent recognised conditions of GC-induced osteoporosis.
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