Bone is constantly controlled by a balance between osteoblastic bone formation and osteoclastic bone resorption. Liquiritigenin is a plant-derived flavonoid and has various pharmacological effects, such as antioxidative, antitumor, and antiinflammatory effects. Here, we show that liquiritigenin has dual effects on the proliferation of bone cells, regarding the promotion of osteoblast differentiation and the inhibition of osteoclast differentiation. Liquiritigenin-treated murine osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells showed an increased alkaline phosphatase activity and enhanced phosphorylation of Smad1/5 compared with untreated cells. Moreover, liquiritigenin inhibited osteoclast differentiation, its bone-resorption activity through slightly decreased the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, and inhibitor of nuclear factor kappa Bα; however, the phosphorylation of Akt and p38 slightly increased in bone marrow-derived osteoclasts. The expression levels of the osteoclast marker proteins nuclear factor of activated T-cell cytoplasmic-1, Src, and cathepsin K diminished. These results suggest that liquiritigenin may be useful as a therapeutic and/or preventive agent for osteoporosis or inflammatory bone diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas