Osteoporosis-associated fractures may cause higher morbidity and mortality. Our previous study showed the effects of genistein, a phytoestrogen, on the induction of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) gene expression and stimulation of osteoblast mineralization. In this study, rat calvarial osteoblasts and an animal bone defect model were used to investigate the effects of genistein on bone healing. Treatment with genistein caused a time-dependent increase in alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity in rat osteoblasts. Levels of cytosolic and nuclear ERα significantly augmented following exposure to genistein. Subsequently, genistein elevated levels of ALP mRNA and protein in rat osteoblasts. Moreover, genistein induced other osteogenesis-associated osteocalcin and Runx2 mRNA and protein expressions. Knocking-down ERα using RNA interference concurrently inhibited genistein-induced Runx2, osteocalcin, and ALP mRNA expression. Attractively, administration of ICR mice suffering bone defects with genistein caused significant increases in the callus width, chondrocyte proliferation, and ALP synthesis. Results of microcomputed tomography revealed that administration of genistein increased trabecular bone numbers and improved the bone thickness and volume. This study showed that genistein can improve bone healing via triggering ERα-mediated osteogenesis-associated gene expressions and subsequent osteoblast maturation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10639-10650
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - Sept 30 2020


  • alkaline phosphatase
  • bone healing
  • genistein
  • osteoblast maturation
  • osteogenesis-associated gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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