Kaempferol is a typical flavonol-type flavonoid that is present in a variety of vegetables and fruits, and has a protective effect on postmenopausal bone loss. Bone sialoprotein (BSP) is thought to function in the initial mineralization of bone and could be crucial for osteoblast differentiation, bone matrix mineralization and tumor metastasis. In the present study we investigated the regulation of BSP transcription by kaempferol in rat osteoblast-like UMR106 cells, and the effect of kaempferol on new bone formation. Kaempferol (5 µM) increased BSP and Osterix mRNA levels at 12 h and up-regulated Runx2 mRNA expression at 6 h. Kaempferol increased luciferase activity of the construct pLUC3, which including the promoter sequence between nucleotides −116 to +60. Transcriptional stimulation by kaempferol abrogated in constructs included 2 bp mutations in the inverted CCAAT, CRE, and FRE elements. Gel shift analyses showed that kaempferol increased nuclear protein binding to CRE and FRE elements, whereas the CCAAT-protein complex did not change after kaempferol stimulation. Twelve daily injections of 5 µM kaempferol directly into the periosteum of parietal bones of newborn rats increased new bone formation. These data suggest that kaempferol increased BSP gene transcription mediated through inverted CCAAT, CRE, and FRE elements in the rat BSP gene promoter, and could induce osteoblast activities in the early stage of bone formation. J. Cell. Biochem. 110: 1342–1355, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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