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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 926928, 10 pages
Research Article

Efficacy and Safety of Echinacoside in a Rat Osteopenia Model

1Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Pharmacodynamic Constituents of TCM and New Drugs Research, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
2State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, China
3Institute of Materia Medica, Shanghai No.1 Biochemical & Pharmaceutical Company Ltd., Shanghai 200240, China

Received 2 January 2013; Revised 1 February 2013; Accepted 2 February 2013

Academic Editor: Roja Rahimi

Copyright © 2013 Xiaolin Yang 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.


This study aimed to investigate the efficacy and safety of echinacoside (ECH) using an osteopenia rat model. Forty-eight 6-month-old female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into one sham-operated group (SHAM) and five OVX (ovariectomized) subgroups: SHAM with vehicle 0.5% carboxymethylcellulose sodium (0.5% CMC-Na) and OVX with vehicle (OVX), OVX with 17β-estradiol (E2), and OVX with ECH of graded doses (ECH-L, ECH-M, and ECH-H). The effects of ECH and E2 on serum biochemical parameters, bone mineral density (BMD), bone biomechanical properties, bone microarchitecture, and immunohistochemistry were examined, and safety assessments were also evaluated. The results showed that ECH treatments improved total femur BMD, bone microarchitecture, and biomechanical properties and decreased serum marker levels in comparison to OVX group. Moreover, ECH administration significantly increased osteoprotegerin (OPG) level, and decreased receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL) level in serum, as well as in proximal femur. Importantly, ECH treatment ameliorated the lipid parameters without the overall incidences of adverse events of uterus and mammary gland compared to OVX and SHAM groups. This study demonstrated that administration of ECH for 12 weeks can effectively and safely prevent OVX-induced osteoporosis in rats via increasing the OPG/RANKL ratio.