Ginsenoside Rg3, a ginsenoside isolated from Panax ginseng, can regulate autophagy via AMP-activated protein kinase/mammalian target of rapamycin (AMPK/mTOR) signaling pathway. AMPK/mTOR signaling and autophagy have been reported to be involved in osteogenesis. Here, the effect of Rg3 on ovariectomy (OVX)-induced osteoporosis is explored. In vivo, rats were treated with 20 mg/kg Rg3 after OVX and the body weight (BW) was monitored. Bone mineral density (BMD), hematoxylin-eosin staining of femur tissues, osteogenesis, autophagy, and AMPK/mTOR signaling were analyzed. In vitro, MC3T3-E1 cells were treated with 0, 1, 5, 10, 20, and 100 μmol/L Rg3. 10 and 20 μmol/L Rg3, which had no significant effect on cell viability and significantly affected AMPK/mTOR signaling, were chosen for further analysis. Then osteogenic differentiation was induced with Rg3 or/and AMPK inhibitor (Compound C). AMPK/mTOR signaling, autophagy, osteogenic differentiation, and mineralization by Alizarin Red staining were analyzed. The expression or activity of AMPK/mTOR signaling-related proteins, autophagy markers, and osteogenesis markers was measured by western blotting or commercial kits, and cell viability by cell counting kit-8 assay kits. Rg3 significantly alleviated OVX-induced BW increases, BMD declines and histological changes of femur tissues, promoted osteogenesis, autophagy, and AMPK signaling, but inhibited mTOR signaling in vivo. Moreover, Rg3 significantly enhanced AMPK signaling, autophagy, osteogenic differentiation, and mineralization, but suppressed mTOR signaling in vitro. However, Compound C significantly reversed Rg3-induced alterations in vitro, indicating that Rg3 regulated autophagy, osteogenic differentiation, and mineralization via AMPK/mTOR signaling. Hence, it was speculated that Rg3 might attenuate OVX-induced osteoporosis via AMPK/mTOR signaling pathway.
© 2020 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.