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The sap of Acer mono has been called ‘bone-benefit-water’ in Korea because of its mineral and sugar content. In particular, the calcium concentration of the sap of A. mono is 37·5 times higher than commercial spring water. In the current study, we examined whether A. mono sap could improve or prevent osteoporosis-like symptoms in a mouse model. Male mice (3 weeks old) were fed a low-calcium diet supplemented with 25, 50 or 100 % A. mono sap, commercial spring water or a high calcium-containing solution as a beverage for 7 weeks. There were no differences in weekly weight gain and food intake among all the groups. Mice that were given a low-calcium diet supplemented with commercial spring water developed osteoporosis-like symptoms. To assess the effect of sap on osteoporosis-like symptoms, we examined serum calcium concentration, and femur density and length, and carried out a histological examination. Serum calcium levels were significantly lower in mice that received a low-calcium diet supplemented with commercial spring water (the negative control group), and in the 25 % sap group compared to mice fed a normal diet, but were normal in the 50 and 100 % sap and high-calcium solution groups. Femur density and length were significantly reduced in the negative control and 25 % sap groups. These results indicate that a 50 % sap solution can mitigate osteoporosis-like symptoms induced by a low-calcium diet. We also examined the regulation of expression of calcium-processing genes in the duodenum and kidney. Duodenal TRPV6 and renal calbindin-D9k were up-regulated dose-dependently by sap, and the levels of these factors were higher than those attained in the spring water-treated control. The results demonstrate that the sap of A. mono ameliorates the low bone density induced by a low-calcium diet, most likely by increasing calcium ion absorption.
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