Osteoporosis International

, Volume 23, Issue 9, pp 2347–2357 | Cite as

Prevention of disuse osteoporosis in rats by Cordyceps sinensis extract

  • W. Qi
  • Y.-B. Yan
  • W. LeiEmail author
  • Z.-X. Wu
  • Y. Zhang
  • D. Liu
  • L. Shi
  • P.-C. Cao
  • N. Liu
Original Article



Cordyceps sinensis has been known as a traditional medicine in China, and C. sinensis plus strontium could prevent osteoporosis in ovariectomized rats. The present study shows that daily oral administration of C. sinensis at higher doses in adult hind limb suspension rats can prevent disuse-induced bone loss and deterioration of trabecular microarchitecture.


Cordyceps sinensis induces estradiol production and prevents osteoporosis in ovariectomized rats. This study was to examine whether C. sinensis can prevent disuse-induced osteoporosis.


Rats were randomly divided into six groups, and five groups were treated with hind limb suspension (HLS). One HLS group received alendronate (2.0 mg/kg/day) orally, and to the three other HLS groups to each group, a different amount of C. sinensis (100, 300, and 500 mg/kg/day) was orally administered for 8 weeks before and after HLS. The remaining HLS group was set as a control without treatment. Each group consisted of 10 males and females. The body weights, biochemical parameters in serum and urine, bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC), mechanical testing, and bone microarchitecture were examined.


Treatments with higher C. sinensis dosage (300 and 500 mg/kg/day) or alendronate had a positive effect on body weights, mechanical strength, BMD, and BMC compared to the other HLS groups. C. sinensis decreased markers of bone turnover dose dependently and increased the osteocalcin levels in HLS rats. The result of micro-CT analysis from the L4 vertebra showed that C. sinensis (500 mg/kg) significantly prevented the reduction of the bone volume fraction, connectivity density, trabeculae number, and thickness as well as improved the trabeculae separation and structure model index in HLS rats.


The present study demonstrates that administration of C. sinensis at higher doses over an 8-week period can prevent the disuse osteoporosis in rats. It implies that C. sinensis might be an alternative therapy for prevention of disuse-induced osteoporosis also in humans.


Bone turnover Cordyceps sinensis extract Disuse-induced osteoporosis Hind limb suspension 



Grant support from The National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (863 Program) (2007AA02Z468) was received in support of this work. No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party directly or indirectly by the authors of this manuscript.

Ethics statement

All the procedures involving use of animals were conducted according to the ethics guidelines established by the Fourth Military Medical University.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Qi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Y.-B. Yan
    • 1
  • W. Lei
    • 1
    Email author
  • Z.-X. Wu
    • 1
  • Y. Zhang
    • 1
  • D. Liu
    • 1
  • L. Shi
    • 1
  • P.-C. Cao
    • 1
  • N. Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedics, Xijing HospitalThe Fourth Military Medical UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Department of Surgery520th Hospital of People’s Liberation ArmyMianyangChina

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