Osteoporosis is the second most-prevalent epidemiologic disease in the aging population worldwide. Cross-sectional and retrospective evidence indicates that tea consumption can mitigate bone loss and reduce risk of osteoporotic fractures. Tea polyphenols enhance osteoblastogenesis and suppress osteoclastogenesis in vitro. Previously, we showed that (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), one of the green tea polyphenols, increased osteogenic differentiation of murine bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) by increasing the mRNA expression of osteogenesis-related genes, alkaline phosphatase activity and, eventually, mineralization. We also found that EGCG could mitigate bone loss and improve bone microarchitecture in ovariectomy-induced osteopenic rats, as well as enhancing bone defect healing partially via bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2). The present study investigated the effects of EGCG in human BMSCs. We found that EGCG, at concentrations of both 1 and 10 µmol/L, can increase mRNA expression of BMP2, Runx2, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), osteonectin and osteocalcin 48 h after treatment. EGCG increased ALP activity both 7 and 14 days after treatment. Furthermore, EGCG can also enhance mineralization two weeks after treatment. EGCG without antioxidants also can enhance mineralization. In conclusion, EGCG can increase mRNA expression of BMP2 and subsequent osteogenic-related genes including Runx2, ALP, osteonectin and osteocalcin. EGCG further increased ALP activity and mineralization. Loss of antioxidant activity can still enhance mineralization of human BMSCs (hBMSCs).
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