Xiaobin Yang, Baorong He, Peng Liu, Liang Yan, Ming Yang, Dichen Li
This work aimed to investigate the therapeutic effect of curcumin on sublesional bone loss induced by spinal cord injury (SCI) in rats. SCI model in this work was generated in rats by surgical transaction of the cord at the T10–12 level. After the surgery, animals were treated with curcumin (110 mg/kg body mass/day, via oral gavages) for 2 weeks. Treatment of SCI rats with curcumin prevented the reduction of bone mass in tibiae and femurs, preserved bone microstructure including trabecular bone volume fraction, trabecular number, and trabecular thickness in proximal tibiae, and preserved mechanical properties of femoral midshaft. Treatment of SCI rats with curcumin increased osteoblast surface and reduced osteoclast surface in proximal tibiae. Treatment of SCI rats with curcumin increased osteocalcin mRNA expression and reduced mRNA levels of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase and mRNA ratio of receptor activator of NF-κB ligand/osteoprotegerin in distal femurs. Treatment of SCI rats with curcumin reduced serum and femoral levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances. Treatment of SCI rats with curcumin had no significant effect on serum 25(OH)D, but enhanced mRNA and protein expression of vitamin D receptor (VDR) in distal femurs. Treatment of SCI rats with curcumin enhanced mRNA levels of Wnt3a, Lrp5, and ctnnb1 and upregulated protein expression of β-catenin in distal femurs. In conclusions, treatment with curcumin abated oxidative stress, activated VDR, and enhanced Wnt/β-catenin pathway, which might explain its beneficial effect against sublesional bone loss following SCI in rats, at least in part.