Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 151–160 | Cite as

The effects of α-zearalanol on the proliferation of bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells and their differentiation into osteoblasts

  • Shaohui Zong
  • Gaofeng Zeng
  • Ye Fang
  • Jinzhen Peng
  • Bin Zou
  • Taihang Gao
  • Jingmin ZhaoEmail author
Original Article


The aim of this study was to explore the effects of α-zearalanol (α-ZAL) on the proliferation of mouse bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) and their differentiation into osteoblasts. Six- to eight-week-old BALB/C mice were used either as recipients or as bone marrow donors. BMSCs were isolated and collected using a differential adhesion method, with use of 10 % fetal bovine serum and Iscove’s modified Dulbecco’s medium. After the third generation, the BMSCs were randomly placed into the following subgroups: a control group, an osteogenic medium (OM) group, a 17β-estradiol group, an α-ZAL 10−7 mol/L group, an α-ZAL 10−6 mol/L group, and an α-ZAL 10−5 mol/L group. Flow cytometry was used to identify the BMSCs collected from the bone marrow. The 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide test was performed, and markers of the osteoblasts were measured in the different subgroups. In addition, expression of osteoprotegerin and expression of receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand were examined using Western blot. In contrast to the control and OM groups, BMSCs in the α-ZAL groups exhibited long fusiform shapes, and contact inhibition was observed when the cells were closely packed. After induction, the BMSCs grew well and exhibited triangular, star, polygonal, or irregular shapes. Clumps and multiple cells were evident. The trends of the proliferation and differentiation for the control, OM, 17β-estradiol, and α-ZAL groups were similar. Compared with the control and OM groups, in the α-ZAL groups the expression levels of alkaline phosphatase, procollagen type I N-terminal propeptide, bone morphogenetic protein 2, and osteocalcin were significantly increased (p < 0.05). In addition, α-ZAL inhibited osteoclastogenesis by increasing the expression of osteoprotegerin and decreasing the expression of nuclear factor κB ligand. In conclusion, α-ZAL can increase the proliferation of BMSCs and their differentiation into osteoblasts and can effectively suppress osteoclastogenesis.


α-Zearalanol Bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells Osteoblast Osteoprotegerin Nuclear factor κB 



We thank the Natural Science Foundation of Guangxi (2014GXNSFAA118400) for its support.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society for Bone and Mineral Research and Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shaohui Zong
    • 1
  • Gaofeng Zeng
    • 2
  • Ye Fang
    • 3
  • Jinzhen Peng
    • 3
  • Bin Zou
    • 3
  • Taihang Gao
    • 3
  • Jingmin Zhao
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Spine OsteopathiaThe First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical UniversityNanningPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Public HygieneGuangxi Medical UniversityNanningPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Graduate SchoolGuangxi Medical UniversityNanningPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Department of OsteopathiaThe First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical UniversityNanningPeople’s Republic of China

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