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BioMed Research International
Volume 2018, Article ID 4178021, 11 pages
Research Article

Quercetin Stimulates Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cell Differentiation through an Estrogen Receptor-Mediated Pathway

1Department of Orthopedics, Jinling Hospital, School of Medicine, Nanjing University, Zhongshan East Road, No. 305, Nanjing 210002, China
2Southeast University School of Medicine, Dingjiaqiao Road, No. 87, Nanjing 210009, China
3Department of Orthopedics, Zhongda Hospital, School of Medicine, Southeast University, Dingjiaqiao Road, No. 87, Nanjing 210009, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Jian-Ning Zhao; moc.361@7020.gninnaijoahz

Received 1 November 2017; Accepted 1 February 2018; Published 15 March 2018

Academic Editor: Oliver B. Betz

Copyright © 2018 Xin-Gang Pang 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.


Objectives. The present study aimed to investigate the overall effect of quercetin on mouse bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell (BMSC) proliferation and osteogenic differentiation in vitro. Materials and Methods. BMSCs were treated with different concentrations of quercetin for 6 days. The effects of quercetin on cell proliferation were assessed at predetermined times using Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assay. The cells were then treated with quercetin, estrogen, or an estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist (which was also administered in the presence of quercetin or estrogen) for 7 or 21 days. The effects of quercetin on BMSC osteogenic differentiation were analyzed by an alkaline phosphatase (ALP) assay kit, Alizarin Red S staining (ARS), quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), and western blotting. Results. The CCK-8 and ALP assays and ARS staining showed that quercetin significantly enhanced BMSC proliferation, ALP activity, and extracellular matrix production and mineralization, respectively. The qPCR results indicated that quercetin promoted osterix (OSX), runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2), and osteopontin (OPN) transcription in the presence of osteoinduction medium, and the western blotting results indicated that quercetin enhanced bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2), Smad1, Smad4, RUNX2, OSX, and OPN expression and Smad1 phosphorylation. Treatment with the ER inhibitor ICI182780 blocked the effects of quercetin. Conclusions. Our data demonstrated that quercetin promotes BMSC proliferation and osteogenic differentiation. Quercetin enhances BMP signaling pathway activation and upregulates the expression of downstream genes, such as OSX, RUNX2, and OPN, via the ER.