Nutrients 2018 Nov 5;10(11). Epub 2018 Nov 5.
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.
Due to deleterious side effects of currently available medications, the search for novel, safe, and effective preventive agents for improving bone health in aging continues and is urgently needed. This study aimed to determine whether dietary blackcurrants (BC), an anthocyanin-rich berry, can improve bone mass in a mouse model of age-related bone loss. Thirty-five female C57BL/6J mice, 3 months old ( = 20) and 18 months old ( = 15), were randomized to consume either a standard chow diet or a standard chow diet with 1% (/) BC for four months. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, Micro computed tomography (µCT), and histomorphometric analyses were conducted to assess bone parameters on femurs. Biochemical assays were conducted to determine bone resorption, antioxidant activity, and inflammation in humerus homogenates. Trabecular bone volume (BV/TV) was significantly lower in aged mice compared to young mice (young control, 3.7 ± 0.4% vs aged control, 1.5 ± 0.5%, mean ± SEM (standard error of mean), < 0.01; young BC, 5.3 ± 0.6% vs aged BC, 1.1 ± 0.3%, < 0.001). µCT analysis revealed that BC supplementation increased trabecular BV/TV in young mice by 43.2% ( < 0.05) compared to controls. Histomorphometric analysis revealed a 50% increase, though this effect was not statistically significant ( = 0.07). The osteoblast surface increased by 82.5% in aged mice with BC compared to controls ( < 0.01). In humerus homogenates of young mice, BC consumption reduced C-telopeptide of type I collagen by 12.4% ( < 0.05) and increased glutathione peroxidase by 96.4% ( < 0.05). In humerus homogenates of aged mice, BC consumption increased catalase by 12% ( = 0.09). Aged mice had significantly elevated concentrations of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), a pro-inflammatory cytokine contributing to bone resorption, which was reduced by 43.3% with BC consumption ( = 0.06). These results suggest that early consumption of BC may protect from aging-associated bone loss.