The increasing incidence of postmenopausal osteoporosis and its related fractures have become global health issues in the recent days. Postmenopausal osteoporosis is the most frequent metabolic bone disease; it is characterized by a rapid loss of mineralized bone tissue. Hormone replacement therapy has proven efficacious in preventing bone loss but not desirable to many women due to its side-effects. Therefore we are in need to search the natural compounds for a treatment of postmenopausal symptoms in women with no toxic effects. In the present study, we have evaluated the effect of petroleum-ether extract of Cissus quadrangularis Linn. (CQ), a plant used in folk medicine, on an osteoporotic rat model developed by ovariectomy. In this experiment, healthy female Wistar rats were divided into four groups of six animals each. Group 1 was sham operated. All the remaining groups were ovariectomized. Group 2 was fed with an equivolume of saline and served as ovariectomized control (OVX). Groups 3 and 4 were orally treated with raloxifene (5.4 mg/kg) and petroleum-ether extract of CQ (500 mg/kg), respectively, for 3 months. The findings were assessed on the basis of animal weight, morphology of femur, and histochemical localization of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) (an osteoblastic marker) and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) (an osteoclastic marker) in upper end of femur. The study revealed for the first time that the petroleum-ether extract of CQ reduced bone loss, as evidenced by the weight gain in femur, and also reduced the osteoclastic activity there by facilitating bone formation when compared to the OVX group. The osteoclastic activity was confirmed by TRAP staining, and the bone formation was assessed by ALP staining in the femur sections. The color intensity of TRAP and ALP enzymes from the images were evaluated by image analysis software developed locally. The effect of CQ was found to be effective on both enzymes, and it might be a potential candidate for prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. The biological activity of CQ on bone may be attributed to the phytogenic steroids present in it.
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