Prolonged administration of LHRH agonist suppresses pituitary gonadotrophin secretion, thereby lowering blood oestrogen. This study was undertaken to compare the osteopaenic effects of bilateral ovariectomy and chronic administration of the LHRH agonist, buserelin, in the rat. Four groups of animals which had their skeletons labelled with 45Ca were studied for 4 weeks. Group 1 underwent a sham-ovariectomy, group 2 were surgically ovariectomized, group 3 were given buserelin by daily s.c. injection and group 4 were given a continuous infusion of buserelin by osmotic minipump. Plasma concentrations of oestradiol were measured weekly. Bone resorption was assessed by measuring the urinary excretion of 45Ca and hydroxyproline and determining bone 45Ca content.
Ovariectomy and buserelin treatments lowered blood oestradiol, increased biochemical indices of bone resorption and decreased femur and total body calcium and 45Ca values. The degree of oesteopaenia elicited by ovariectomy and buserelin treatment was similar. Bone responses to s.c. buserelin and to continuous buserelin infusion were alike. We attribute evidence of increases in bone resorption and induction of osteopaenia with buserelin treatment to hypo-oestrogenism.
We have shown for the first time by bone analysis that buserelin induces osteopaenia as effectively as bilateral ovariectomy. This appears to be the first demonstration in the rat that long-term administration of LHRH agonist influences bone. Administration of buserelin provides a new way of inducing oestrogen-deficiency osteopaenia in the rat without removing the ovaries.
Journal of Endocrinology (1989) 121, 293–298