In the traditional Chinese medicine, Gu-Sui-Bu [Drynaria fortunei (kunze) J. Sm] has been reported as a good enhancer for bone healing. In this experiment, we investigate the biochemical effects of this traditional Chinese medicine on the bone cells culture. Different concentrations of crude extract of Gu-Sui-Bu were added to rat bone cells culture. The mitochondria activity of the bone cells after exposure was determined by colorimetric assay. Biochemical markers such as alkaline phosphatase (ALP), acid phosphatase (ACP) titer, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) titer and the expression of both osteopontin and osteonectin mRNA were evaluated. The effect on the osteoclasts differentiation was evaluated by tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) stain. The most effective concentration of Gu-Sui-Bu on bone cells was 1 mg/ml. The addition of 1 mg/ml Gu-Sui-Bu to bone cells culture for 7 days can statistically increase the intracellular ALP amount; while the ACP and PGE2 amount in culture medium were significantly increased. In Northern blot analysis, the expression of both osteopontin and osteonectin mRNA were down-regulated after adding Gu-Sui-Bu into bone cells culture. The formation of multi-nucleated osteoclasts was more active than that of the control group; but no giant osteoclasts formation was observed. In this study, we demonstrated that Gu-Sui-Bu has potential effects on the bone cells culture. One of the major effects of Gu-Sui-Bu on the bone cells is probably mediated by its effect on the osteclasts activities. Continued and advanced study on the alterations in gene expression of bone cells by Chinese medicines will provide a basis for understanding the observed bone cell responses to various pharmacological interventions.
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