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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 203732, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/203732
Research Article

In Vivo Study on the Pharmacological Interactions between a Chinese Herbal Formula ELP and Antiresorptive Drugs to Counteract Osteoporosis

1Institute of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong
2State Key Laboratory of Phytochemistry and Plant Resources in West China, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong
3Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong
4Jockey Club Centre for Osteoporosis Care and Control, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong
5School of Biomedical Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong
6School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Received 12 July 2012; Revised 3 September 2012; Accepted 12 September 2012

Academic Editor: Norazlina Mohamed

Copyright © 2012 Chun-Hay Ko et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Antiresorptive drugs, alendronate and raloxifene, are effective in lowering bone mineral density (BMD) loss in postmenopausal women. However, long-term treatment may be associated with serious side effects. Our research group has recently discovered that a Chinese herbal formula, ELP, could significantly reduce BMD loss in animal and human studies. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the potential synergistic bone-protective effects of different herb-drug combinations using ovariectomized rats. To assess the efficacy of different combinations, the total BMD was monitored biweekly in the 8-week course of daily oral treatment. Bone microarchitecture, bone strength, and deoxypyridinoline level were also determined after 8 weeks. From our results, coadministration of ELP and raloxifene increased the total tibial BMD by 5.26% (2.5 mg/kg/day of raloxifene; ) and 5.94% (0.25 mg/kg/day of raloxifene; ) when compared with the respective dosage groups with raloxifene alone. Similar synergistic effects were also observed in BMD increase at distal femur (0.25 mg/kg/day; ) and reduction in urinary deoxypyridinoline crosslink excretion (2.5 and 0.25 mg/kg/day; both ). However, such interactions could not be observed in all alendronate-treated groups. Our data provide first evidence that ELP could synergistically enhance the therapeutic effects of raloxifene, so that the clinical dosage of raloxifene could be reduced.