Pulsed electromagnetic fields improve bone microstructure and strength in ovariectomized rats through a Wnt/Lrp5/β-catenin signaling-associated mechanism

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Abstract

Growing evidence has demonstrated that pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF), as an alternative noninvasive method, could promote remarkable in vivo and in vitro osteogenesis. However, the exact mechanism of PEMF on osteopenia/osteoporosis is still poorly understood, which further limits the extensive clinical application of PEMF. In the present study, the efficiency of PEMF on osteoporotic bone microarchitecture and bone quality together with its associated signaling pathway mechanisms was systematically investigated in ovariectomized (OVX) rats. Thirty rats were equally assigned to the Control, OVX and OVX+PEMF groups. The OVX+PEMF group was subjected to daily 8-hour PEMF exposure with 15 Hz, 2.4 mT (peak value). After 10 weeks, the OVX+PEMF group exhibited significantly improved bone mass and bone architecture, evidenced by increased BMD, Tb.N, Tb.Th and BV/TV, and suppressed Tb.Sp and SMI levels in the MicroCT analysis. Three-point bending test suggests that PEMF attenuated the biomechanical strength deterioration of the OVX rat femora, evidenced by increased maximum load and elastic modulus. RT-PCR analysis demonstrated that PEMF exposure significantly promoted the overall gene expressions of Wnt1, LRP5 and β-catenin in the canonical Wnt signaling, but did not exhibit obvious impact on either RANKL or RANK gene expressions. Together, our present findings highlight that PEMF attenuated OVX-induced deterioration of bone microarchitecture and strength in rats by promoting the activation of Wnt/LRP5/β-catenin signaling rather than by inhibiting RANKL-RANK signaling. This study enriches our basic knowledge to the osteogenetic activity of PEMF, and may lead to more efficient and scientific clinical application of PEMF in inhibiting osteopenia/osteoporosis.

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Jing, D., Li, F., Jiang, M., Cai, J., Wu, Y., Xie, K., … Luo, E. (2013). Pulsed electromagnetic fields improve bone microstructure and strength in ovariectomized rats through a Wnt/Lrp5/β-catenin signaling-associated mechanism. PLoS ONE, 8(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0079377

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