Unkeito Suppresses RANKL-Mediated Osteoclastogenesis via the Blimp1–Bcl6 and NF-κB Signaling Pathways and Enhancing Osteoclast Apoptosis

Ke Fang, Yuki Murakami, Seiji Kanda, Takaki Shimono, Anh Tuan Dang, Mitsuaki Ono, Toshimasa Nishiyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Osteoporosis is a common bone disease, particularly in menopausal women. Herein, we screened four Kampo medicines (Unkeito (UKT), Kamishoyosan (KSS), Kamikihito (KKT), and Ninjinyoeito (NYT)), frequently used to treat menopausal syndromes, for their effects on receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB ligand (RANKL)-induced osteoclast differentiation in RAW 264 cells. Considering that UKT exhibited the most potent effect, we examined its effect on RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis, the induction of osteoclast apoptosis, and the mechanisms underlying its effects. UKT inhibits RANKL-induced osteoclast differentiation in the early stage and decreases osteoclast-related genes, including tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (Trap), dendritic cell-specific transmembrane protein (Dcstamp), matrix metalloproteinase-9 (Mmp9), and cathepsin K (Ctsk). Specifically, UKT inhibits the nuclear factor of activated T cells 1 (NFATc1), which is essential for osteoclastogenesis. UKT increases Bcl6, which antagonizes NFATc1 and Dc-stamp, thereby blocking the progression of osteoclasts to maturation. UKT also decreased nuclear translocation by downregulating the activity of p65/NF-κB. In addition, UKT enhances mononuclear osteoclast apoptosis via activation of caspase-3. Herein, we demonstrate that UKT suppresses RANKL-mediated osteoclastogenesis via the Blimp1–Bcl6 and NF-κB signaling pathways and enhances mononuclear osteoclast apoptosis. Furthermore, UKT prevents bone loss in OVX mice. Thus, UKT might be a potential therapeutic agent for postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7814
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • caspase-3
  • NFATc1
  • osteoporosis
  • p65
  • postmenopause
  • Unkeito

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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