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Keywords:

  • soybean isoflavone;
  • genistein;
  • exercise;
  • estrogen deficiency;
  • osteoporosis

Abstract

We reported that genistein, a soybean isoflavone, prevents bone loss caused by estrogen deficiency, without undesirable effects on the uterus. In this study, we examined cooperative effects of genistein administration and running exercise on bone mass in ovariectomized (OVX) mice. Female mice aged 7 weeks were either sham-operated or OVX and divided into six groups: (1) sham; (2) OVX; (3) OVX, treated with genistein at a submaximal dose (0.4 mg/day) subcutaneously (G); (4) OVX, exercised on a treadmill daily for 30 minutes/day at 12 m/minute on a 10° uphill slope (Ex); (5) OVX, given genistein and exercised (ExG); and (6) OVX, treated with 17β-estradiol (0.03 μg/day) in the same manner as genistein (E2). Four weeks after intervention, bone mass was estimated by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). Bone mineral density (BMD) of the whole femur measured by DXA was higher in both the G and the Ex groups than in the OVX group. Furthermore, BMD in the ExG group was significantly higher than that in the groups receiving either intervention alone. Bone area in distal region of the femur was significantly higher in Ex and ExG groups as compared with those in the OVX and G groups. pQCT analysis showed that the cross-sectional areas (CSAs) and periosteum perimeter at midshaft of the femur did not differ in the sham and OVX groups but were significantly higher in Ex and ExG groups. Histomorphometric analysis showed that bone formation rate/bone surface (BFR/BS) was significantly higher in both Ex and ExG groups as compared with that in non-exercised groups. The bone volume (BV/TV) in the distal femoral cancellous bone was lower in the OVX than that in the sham group, and it was restored completely in the ExG group, as in the E2 group. Thickness of the trabecular bone (Tb.Th) was higher in Ex and ExG groups than that in the OVX and G groups. These results indicate that the combined intervention of moderate exercise and the submaximal dose of genistein administration show a cooperative effect in preventing bone loss in OVX mice.