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N Andersson, MK Lindberg, C Ohlsson, K Andersson, and B Ryberg

The recent development of different genetically modified mice with potentially interesting bone phenotypes has increased the demand for effective non-invasive methods to evaluate effects on bone of mice during growth and development, and for drug evaluation. In the present study, the skeleton was analyzed by repeated in vivo scans using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). Ovariectomized (ovx) mice treated with parathyroid hormone (PTH) were used as an animal model to evaluate these two techniques at different times after the onset of treatment. Female mice (6 weeks of age) were allocated randomly to four groups: (1) sham-operated+vehicle; (2) ovx+vehicle; (3) sham-operated+PTH(1-84) 150 microg/kg per day; (4) ovx+PTH. Six weeks after ovariectomy the drug treatment began and was continued for 8 weeks. The total body bone mineral content (BMC) and total body areal bone mineral density (BMD) were measured by DXA. Ovariectomy reduced total body BMC and total body areal BMD by 6.2+/-1.7% and 2.6+/-0.9% respectively. No effect of PTH on total body BMC was seen during the treatment period. The trabecular volumetric BMD was measured by pQCT. Ovariectomy reduced the trabecular volumetric BMD by 52+/-6.7%. The pQCT technique detected a clear effect on trabecular volumetric BMD after 2 weeks of PTH treatment (ovx 94+/-29% and sham-operated 46+/-10% more than vehicle-treated). The cortical bone was measured in a mid-diaphyseal pQCT scan of the tibia. Ovariectomy reduced the cortical BMC by 9+/-2%. PTH treatment for 8 weeks increased cortical BMC in ovx mice. In conclusion, the pQCT technique is more sensitive than the DXA technique in the detection of bone loss after ovariectomy and increased bone mass after PTH treatment in mice. Notably, the pQCT, but not the DXA, technique detected a dramatic effect as early as after 2 weeks of PTH treatment. Dynamic pQCT measurements will be useful for monitoring skeletal changes during growth and development, and for drug evaluation in mice.

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N Andersson, VV Surve, D Lehto-Axtelius, C Ohlsson, R Hakanson, K Andersson, and B Ryberg

Both ovariectomy (Ovx) and gastrectomy (Gx) induce osteopaenia in rats and humans. While the effect of Ovx has been ascribed to oestrogen deficiency, the underlying mechanism behind Gx is poorly understood. Alendronate, oestrogen and parathyroid hormone (PTH) are known to prevent the osteopaenia induced by Ovx in rats. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether alendronate, oestrogen or PTH could also prevent Gx-evoked osteopaenia. Rats were Ovx-, Gx-, or were sham-operated (Sham) and were then treated with alendronate (50 micro g/kg/day), oestrogen (10 micro g/kg/day) or PTH(1-84) (75 micro g/kg/day) for eight weeks. At sacrifice, serum PTH was unaffected by surgery (Ovx, 64+/-8 pg/ml; Gx, 75+/-13 pg/ml; Sham, 58+/-11 pg/ml). The bone mineral density (BMD) of the fifth lumbar vertebra (L5) was analysed. Ovx and Gx reduced the BMD (ash weight/Volume) of the L5 by 15+/-4% and 22+/-3% respectively. Trabecular BMD and the cortical bone mineral content (BMC) of the femur were assessed using peripheral computed tomography. Both Ovx and Gx markedly reduced trabecular BMD in the metaphyseal area of the distal femur (Ovx, -37+/-7%; Gx, -49+/-7%). The cortical BMC of the femur was only slightly reduced. Alendronate prevented trabecular bone loss after both Ovx and Gx, while oestrogen and PTH prevented trabecular bone loss after Ovx but not after Gx. In conclusion, the bisphosphonate alendronate prevented both Ovx- and Gx-induced trabecular bone loss. In contrast, PTH and oestrogen prevented Ovx-induced but not Gx-induced trabecular bone loss, suggesting that the mechanism behind the trabecular bone loss in Ovx rats differs from that in Gx rats. The results support the notion that the mechanism of action for the bone-sparing effect of these drugs differs. The ability of alendronate, and probably also other bisphosphonates, to prevent Gx-evoked osteopaenia in the rat might be of potential clinical interest when dealing with post-Gx osteopaenia in humans.