The Nutraceutical Genistein-Lycopene Combination Improves Bone Damage Induced by Glucocorticoids by Stimulating the Osteoblast Formation Process

Federica Mannino, Tommaso D’Angelo, Giovanni Pallio, Antonio Ieni, Igor Pirrotta, Domenico Antonio Giorgi, Alessandro Scarfone, Silvio Mazziotti, Christian Booz, Alessandra Bitto, Francesco Squadrito*, Natasha Irrera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Chronic glucocorticoid (GC) therapy is the most common cause of iatrogenic osteoporosis and represents an important risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fractures. New therapeutic approaches are required in order to treat osteoporosis and reduce the side effects related to the use of anti-osteoporotic drugs. In this context, previous studies reported the efficacy of some isoflavones and carotenoids, such as lycopene and genistein, on the reduction of the risk of fracture related to osteoporosis. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a combined oral treatment, consisting of genistein and lycopene, in an experimental model of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIO). GIO was induced by subcutaneous injection of methylprednisolone (MP, 30 mg/kg) for 60 days, whereas the control group (Sham) received saline solution only. Following induction, MP animals randomly were assigned to receive alendronate, genistein, lycopene, or the association of genistein and lycopene or saline solution for additional 60 days together with MP. Femurs obtained from the Sham group were used for osteoblasts extraction; they were then incubated with dexamethasone (DEX) for 24 h to be then treated with lycopene or genistein or the association of lycopene and genistein for an additional 24 h. Treatments with lycopene and genistein restored the impaired mineralization of cells observed following DEX treatment and stimulated osteoblast differentiation by increasing the depressed expression of bALP and RUNX2 (p < 0.0001). Wnt5a, β-catenin, and Nrf-2 expression were significantly increased following genistein and lycopene treatment (p < 0.0001), thus confirming their antioxidant activity as well as their ability in stimulating osteoblast function, mostly when genistein and lycopene were used in association. The combined treatment of genistein and lycopene improved the bone damage induced by glucocorticoids and significantly restored the normal architecture of bones as well as adequate interconnectivity of bone trabeculae, thus increasing bone mineral density parameters. The obtained data demonstrated that genistein and lycopene but in particular their association might prevent GC’s adverse effects, thus stimulating bone formation and reducing bone resorption, improving bone structure and microarchitecture, through different molecular pathways, such as the Wnt/β-catenin and the Nrf-2 signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4296
Number of pages12
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Economic Development assigned to Prof. Domenica Altavilla entitled: “Nutraceutici innovativi per il management dell’obesità e dell’osteoporosi” code: F/050359/01-03/X32.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


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