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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 825181, 11 pages
Research Article

Preventive Effect of Crocin on Osteoporosis in an Ovariectomized Rat Model

1Department of Orthopaedics, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, No. 127, West Changle Road, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710032, China
2Department of Orthopaedics, Baoji Central Hospital, No. 8, Jiangtan Road, Baoji, Shaanxi 721008, China

Received 20 May 2014; Revised 24 July 2014; Accepted 29 July 2014; Published 14 August 2014

Academic Editor: Wen Chuan Lin

Copyright © 2014 Peng-Chong Cao 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.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the therapeutic effects of crocin on ovariectomy-induced osteoporosis in rats. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to a sham-operated group (sham) and five ovariectomy (OVX) subgroups, that is, OVX with vehicle (OVX), OVX with 17β-estradiol (E2, 25 μg/kg/day), and OVX with graded crocin doses (5, 10, or 20 mg/kg/day). Daily oral administration of E2 or crocin started 4 weeks after OVX and lasted for 16 weeks. Our results showed that crocin dose-dependently inhibited the BMD reduction of L4 vertebrae and femurs caused by OVX and prevented the deterioration of trabecular microarchitecture, which were accompanied by a significant decrease in skeletal remodeling as evidenced by the lower levels of bone turnover markers. Furthermore, crocin reversed the oxidative stress status in both serum and bone tissue. The present study indicates that the administration of crocin at higher doses over a 16-week period can prevent OVX-induced osteoporosis in rats without hyperplastic effects on the uterus, which may, at least partially, be attributed to crocin’s antioxidative property. In brief, crocin is a natural alternative for postmenopausal osteoporosis treatment in elderly women.