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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 4079210, 10 pages
Research Article

Er-Xian Decoction Stimulates Osteoblastic Differentiation of Bone Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Ovariectomized Mice and Its Gene Profile Analysis

1Department of Orthopaedics & Traumatology, Longhua Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, No. 725 South Wan-ping Road, Shanghai 200032, China
2Spine Research Institute, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, No. 725 South Wanping Road, Shanghai 200032, China
3Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese Medicine & Western Medicine, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, No. 12 Middle Wulumuqi Road, Shanghai 200040, China

Received 14 October 2015; Revised 9 February 2016; Accepted 11 February 2016

Academic Editor: Silvia Brunelli

Copyright © 2016 Shufen Liu 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.


We studied the bone mesenchymal stem cells (bMSCs) and gene profiles regulated by Er-Xian Decoction (EXD), a traditional Chinese herbal formula widely used for postmenopausal osteoporosis treatment. Six-month-old female Imprinting Control Region mice that underwent ovariectomy were treated with EXD. After 3 months, bone mass was evaluated by μCT and histological and immunohistochemical detection. The self-renewal and differentiation capacities of bMSCs were evaluated by colony-forming unit-fibroblastic, colony-forming unit-adipocyte, and alkaline phosphatase staining. In addition, the expression of 26991 genes of bMSCs ex vivo at 2 weeks after EXD-treatment or of bMSCs in vitro after exposure to conditioned serum from EXD-treated rats was measured and analyzed using NimbleGen Gene Expression Profiling and Cluster and pathway analysis. EXD treatment increased bone mass, elevating osteocalcin protein levels in vivo and facilitating the self-renewal and osteoblastic differentiation of bMSCs ex vivo. EXD rescued several gene expressions that were dysregulated by OVX. These genes overlapped and their functions were involved in ten pathways between ex vivo and in vitro experiments. EXD exerts an osteogenic effect on bMSCs in OVX induced osteoporotic mice. Our results contribute to further study of its molecular mechanism and traditional use in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.