The potential benefits of earthworm (Pheretima aspergillum) for healing have received considerable attention recently. Osteoblast and osteoclast activities are very important in bone remodeling, which is crucial to repair bone injuries. This study investigated the effects of earthworm extract on bone cell activities.
Osteoblast-like MG-63 cells and RAW 264.7 macrophage cells were used for identifying the cellular effects of different concentrations of earthworm extract on osteoblasts and osteoclasts, respectively. The optimal concentration of earthworm extract was determined by mitochondrial colorimetric assay, alkaline phosphatase activity, matrix calcium deposition, Western blotting and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase activity.
Earthworm extract had a dose-dependent effect on bone cell activities. The most effective concentration of earthworm extract was 3 mg/ml, significantly increasing osteoblast proliferation and differentiation, matrix calcium deposition and the expression levels of alkaline phosphatase, osteopontin and osteocalcin. Conversely, 3 mg/ml earthworm extract significantly reduced the tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase activity of osteoclasts without altering cell viability.
Earthworm extract has beneficial effects on bone cell cultures, indicating that earthworm extract is a potential agent for use in bone regeneration.