The treatment of bone defects has always been a problem for clinicians. In recent years, research on human bone mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSCs) has found that promoting their osteogenic differentiation could be a useful therapeutic strategy for bone healing. Previous studies have been reported that Withania somnifera Dunal inhibits osteoclastogenesis by inhibiting the NF-κB signaling pathway. Withanolide B is an active component of W. somnifera Dunal, but its role in osteogenic differentiation of hBMSCs remains unknown. Here, we performed a preliminary study on the role of Withanolide B in promoting osteogenic differentiation and its possible mechanism.
We investigated the effect of Withanolide B on osteogenic differentiation of hBMSCs in vitro and in vivo. The effect of Withanolide B on the activity of hBMSCs was verified by CCK-8 assay and quantitative Real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and Western blotting analysis were used to verify the effect of Withanolide B on osteogenic differentiation-specific genes and proteins. The effect of Withanolide B on ALP activity and mineral deposition was verified by ALP and ARS staining. We then used a rat tibial osteotomy model to observe the effect of Withanolide B on bone healing.
Withanolide B is noncytotoxic to hBMSCs and can effectively promote their osteogenic differentiation. Moreover, we found that Withanolide B can regulate the osteogenic differentiation of hBMSCs through the ERK1/2 and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways. When inhibitors of the ERK1/2 and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways were used, the enhancement of osteogenic differentiation induced by Withanolide B was attenuated. Withanolide B also effectively promoted bone healing in the rat tibial osteotomy model.
Our results suggest that Withanolide B can promote the osteogenic differentiation of hBMSCs through the ERK1/2 and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways and can effectively promote bone defect healing.

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