Growth hormone (GH) is of importance for normal bone remodelling. A recent clinical study demonstrated that MK-677, a member of a class of GH secretagogues (GHSs), increases serum concentrations of biochemical markers of bone formation and bone resorption. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the GHSs, ipamorelin (IPA) and GH-releasing peptide-6 (GHRP-6), increase bone mineral content (BMC) in young adult female rats. Thirteen-week-old female Sprague-Dawley rats were given IPA (0.5 mg/kg per day; n=7), GHRP-6 (0.5 mg/kg per day; n=8), GH (3.5 mg/kg per day; n=7), or vehicle administered continuously s.c. via osmotic minipumps for 12 weeks. The animals were followed in vivo by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) measurements every 4th week. After the animals were killed, femurs were analysed in vitro by mid-diaphyseal peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) scans. After this, excised femurs and vertebrae L6 were analysed by the use of Archimedes' principle and by determinations of ash weights. All treatments increased body weight and total tibial and vertebral BMC measured by DXA in vivo compared with vehicle-treated controls. However, total BMC corrected for the increase in body weight (total BMC:body weight ratio) was unaffected. Tibial area bone mineral density (BMD, BMC/area) was increased, but total and vertebral area BMDs were unchanged. The pQCT measurements in vitro revealed that the increase in the cortical BMC was due to an increased cross-sectional bone area, whereas the cortical volumetric BMD was unchanged. Femur and vertebra L6 volumes were increased but no effect was seen on the volumetric BMDs as measured by Archimedes' principle. Ash weight was increased by all treatments, but the mineral concentration was unchanged. We conclude that treatment of adult female rats with the GHSs ipamorelin and GHRP-6 increases BMC as measured by DXA in vivo. The results of in vitro measurements using pQCT and Archimedes' principle, in addition to ash weight determinations, show that the increases in cortical and total BMC were due to an increased growth of the bones with increased bone dimensions, whereas the volumetric BMD was unchanged.
J Svensson, S Lall, SL Dickson, BA Bengtsson, J Romer, I Ahnfelt-Ronne, C Ohlsson, and JO Jansson
MK Lindberg, M Erlandsson, SL Alatalo, S Windahl, G Andersson, JM Halleen, H Carlsten, JA Gustafsson, and C Ohlsson
Estrogens are important for the male skeleton. Osteoprotegerin (OPG), receptor activator of NF-kappa B ligand (RANKL), interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-1 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) have been suggested to be involved in the skeletal effects of estrogen. We treated orchidectomized mice with estradiol for 2 weeks and observed a 143% increase in the trabecular bone mineral density of the distal metaphysis of femur that was associated with a decreased OPG/RANKL mRNA ratio in vertebral bone. A similar decreased OPG/RANKL ratio was also seen after estrogen treatment of ovariectomized female mice. The effect of estrogen receptor (ER) inactivation on the OPG/RANKL ratio was dissected by using intact male mice lacking ER alpha (ERKO), ER beta (BERKO) or both receptors (DERKO). The expression of OPG was increased in ERKO and DERKO but not in BERKO male mice, resulting in an increased OPG/RANKL ratio. Furthermore, serum levels of IL-6 and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b (TRAP 5b) were decreased in ERKO and DERKO, but not in BERKO male mice. These results demonstrate that ER alpha, but not ER beta, is involved in the regulation of the vertebral OPG/RANKL ratio, serum levels of IL-6 and TRAP 5b in male mice.
J Svensson, M Diez, J Engel, C Wass, Å Tivesten, J-O Jansson, O Isaksson, T Archer, T Hökfelt, and C Ohlsson
IGF-I is a neuroprotective hormone, and neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, have been associated with decreased serum IGF-I concentration. In this study, IGF-I production was inactivated in the liver of adult mice (LI-IGF-I−/−), resulting in an approximately 80–85% reduction of circulating IGF-I concentrations. In young (6-month-old) mice there was no difference between the LI-IGF-I−/− and the control mice in spatial learning and memory as measured using the Morris water maze test. In old (aged 15 and 18 months) LI-IGF-I−/− mice, however, the acquisition of the spatial task was slower than in the controls. Furthermore, impaired spatial working as well as reference memory was observed in the old LI-IGF−/− mice. Histochemical analyses revealed an increase in dynorphin and enkephalin immunoreactivities but decreased mRNA levels in the hippocampus of old LI-IGF-I−/− mice. These mice also displayed astrocytosis and increased metabotropic glutamate receptor 7a-immunoreactivity. These neurochemical disturbances suggest synaptic dysfunction and early neurodegeneration in old LI-IGF-I−/− mice. The decline in serum IGF-I with increasing age may therefore be important for the age-related decline in memory function.
K L Gustafsson, K H Nilsson, H H Farman, A Andersson, V Lionikaite, P Henning, J Wu, S H Windahl, U Islander, S Movérare-Skrtic, K Sjögren, H Carlsten, J-Å Gustafsson, C Ohlsson, and M K Lagerquist
Estrogen treatment has positive effects on the skeleton, and we have shown that estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) expression in cells of hematopoietic origin contributes to a normal estrogen treatment response in bone tissue. T lymphocytes are implicated in the estrogenic regulation of bone mass, but it is not known whether T lymphocytes are direct estrogen target cells. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the importance of ERα expression in T lymphocytes for the estrogenic regulation of the skeleton using female mice lacking ERα expression specifically in T lymphocytes (Lck-ERα−/−) and ERαflox/flox littermate (control) mice. Deletion of ERα expression in T lymphocytes did not affect bone mineral density (BMD) in sham-operated Lck-ERα−/− compared to control mice, and ovariectomy (ovx) resulted in a similar decrease in BMD in control and Lck-ERα−/− mice compared to sham-operated mice. Furthermore, estrogen treatment of ovx Lck-ERα−/− led to an increased BMD that was indistinguishable from the increase seen after estrogen treatment of ovx control mice. Detailed analysis of both the appendicular (femur) and axial (vertebrae) skeleton showed that both trabecular and cortical bone parameters responded to a similar extent regardless of the presence of ERα in T lymphocytes. In conclusion, ERα expression in T lymphocytes is dispensable for normal estrogenic regulation of bone mass in female mice.
H H Farman, K L Gustafsson, P Henning, L Grahnemo, V Lionikaite, S Movérare-Skrtic, J Wu, H Ryberg, A Koskela, J Tuukkanen, E R Levin, C Ohlsson, and M K Lagerquist
The importance of estrogen receptor α (ERα) for the regulation of bone mass in males is well established. ERα mediates estrogenic effects both via nuclear and membrane-initiated ERα (mERα) signaling. The role of mERα signaling for the effects of estrogen on bone in male mice is unknown. To investigate the role of mERα signaling, we have used mice (Nuclear-Only-ER; NOER) with a point mutation (C451A), which results in inhibited trafficking of ERα to the plasma membrane. Gonadal-intact male NOER mice had a significantly decreased total body areal bone mineral density (aBMD) compared to WT littermates at 3, 6 and 9 months of age as measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). High-resolution microcomputed tomography (µCT) analysis of tibia in 3-month-old males demonstrated a decrease in cortical and trabecular thickness in NOER mice compared to WT littermates. As expected, estradiol (E2) treatment of orchidectomized (ORX) WT mice increased total body aBMD, trabecular BV/TV and cortical thickness in tibia compared to placebo treatment. E2 treatment increased these skeletal parameters also in ORX NOER mice. However, the estrogenic responses were significantly decreased in ORX NOER mice compared with ORX WT mice. In conclusion, mERα is essential for normal estrogen signaling in both trabecular and cortical bone in male mice. Increased knowledge of estrogen signaling mechanisms in the regulation of the male skeleton may aid in the development of new treatment options for male osteoporosis.
MK Lindberg, Z Weihua, N Andersson, S Moverare, H Gao, O Vidal, M Erlandsson, S Windahl, G Andersson, DB Lubahn, H Carlsten, K Dahlman-Wright, JA Gustafsson, and C Ohlsson
Estrogen exerts a variety of important physiological effects, which have been suggested to be mediated via the two known estrogen receptors (ERs), alpha and beta. Three-month-old ovariectomized mice, lacking one or both of the two estrogen receptors, were given estrogen subcutaneously (2.3 micro g/mouse per day) and the effects on different estrogen-responsive parameters, including skeletal effects, were studied. We found that estrogen increased the cortical bone dimensions in both wild-type (WT) and double ER knockout (DERKO) mice. DNA microarray analysis was performed to characterize this effect on cortical bone and it identified four genes that were regulated by estrogen in both WT and DERKO mice. The effect of estrogen on cortical bone in DERKO mice might either be due to remaining ERalpha activity or represent an ERalpha/ERbeta-independent effect. Other effects of estrogen, such as increased trabecular bone mineral density, thymic atrophy, fat reduction and increased uterine weight, were mainly ERalpha mediated.