Sulfuretin promotes osteoblastic differentiation in primary cultured osteoblasts and in vivo bone healing

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Although sulfuretin, the major flavonoid of Rhus verniciflua Stokes, has a variety of biological actions, its in vitro and in vivo effects on osteogenic potential remain poorly understood. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of sulfuretin on in vitro osteoblastic differentiation and the underlying signal pathway mechanisms in primary cultured osteoblasts and on in vivo bone formation using critical-sized calvarial defects in mice. Sulfuretin promoted osteogenic differentiation of primary osteoblasts, with increased ALP activity and mineralization, and upregulated differentiation markers, including ALP, osteocalcin, and osteopontin, in a concentration-dependent manner. The expression levels of Runx2, BMP-2, and phospho-Smad1/5/8 were upregulated by sulfuretin. Moreover, sulfuretin increased phosphorylation of Akt, mTOR, ERK, and JNK. Furthermore, sulfuretin treatment increased mRNA expression of Wnt ligands, phosphorylation of GSK3, and nuclear β-catenin protein expression. In vivo studies with calvarial bone defects revealed that sulfuretin significantly enhanced new bone formation by micro-computed tomography and histologic analysis. Collectively, these data suggest that sulfuretin acts through the activation of BMP, mTOR, Wnt/β-catenin, and Runx2 signaling to promote in vitro osteoblast differentiation and facilitate in vivo bone regeneration, and might be have therapeutic benefits in bone disease and regeneration.




Auh, Q. S., Park, K. R., Yun, H. M., Lim, H. C., Kim, G. H., Lee, D. S., … Kim, E. C. (2016). Sulfuretin promotes osteoblastic differentiation in primary cultured osteoblasts and in vivo bone healing. Oncotarget, 7(48), 78320–78330.

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