The ovariectomized (OVX) rat, as an established animal model of human osteoporosis, was adopted in the present experiment to study the protective effects of sodium daidzein sulfonate (SDS) on trabecular bone. Six-month-old Sprague-Dawley rats were sham-operated or ovariectomized. Five days later, the OVX rats were randomly assigned to one of three experimental groups and treated for 90 days with vehicle, 17beta-estradiol (E(2)) or SDS. Compared with OVX rats, SDS administration (15 mg/kg) prevented OVX-induced decrease in lumbar vertebral and femoral bone mineral density (BMD), and significantly increased bone mechanical strength parameters, including ultimate stress and elastic modulus. In the OVX group, the structure of trabecular plate in the femoral head was absorbed and became progressively thinner or was removed completely, accompanied by enlargement of marrow cavities and amalgamation of two or more marrow cavities. Administration of SDS and E(2)prevented the change of trabecular bone microarchitecture induced by OVX, increasing the trabecular bone area and trabecular thickness, while decreasing the trabecular separation. These results indicate that SDS administration prevents OVX-induced decrease in BMD and bone mechanical strength, and has a moderate protective effect on the microarchitecture of trabecular bone in aged Sprague-Dawley rats.