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M J Devlin, D J Brooks, C Conlon, M van Vliet, L Louis, C J Rosen, and M L Bouxsein

Starvation induces low bone mass and high bone marrow adiposity in humans, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. The adipokine leptin falls in starvation, suggesting that hypoleptinemia may be a link between negative energy balance, bone marrow fat accumulation, and impaired skeletal acquisition. In that case, treating mice with leptin during caloric restriction (CR) should reduce marrow adipose tissue (MAT) and improve bone mass. To test this hypothesis, female C57Bl/6J mice were fed a 30% CR or normal (N) diet from 5 to 10 weeks of age, with daily injections of vehicle (VEH), 1mg/kg leptin (LEP1), or 2mg/kg leptin (LEP2) (N=6–8/group). Outcomes included body mass, body fat percentage, and whole-body bone mineral density (BMD) via peripheral dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, cortical and trabecular microarchitecture via microcomputed tomography (μCT), and MAT volume via μCT of osmium tetroxide-stained bones. Overall, CR mice had lower body mass, body fat percentage, BMD, and cortical bone area fraction, but more connected trabeculae, vs N mice (P<0.05 for all). Most significantly, although MAT was elevated in CR vs N overall, leptin treatment blunted MAT formation in CR mice by 50% vs VEH (P<0.05 for both leptin doses). CR LEP2 mice weighed less vs CR VEH mice at 9–10 weeks of age (P<0.05), but leptin treatment did not affect body fat percentage, BMD, or bone microarchitecture within either diet. These data demonstrate that once daily leptin bolus during CR inhibits bone marrow adipose expansion without affecting bone mass acquisition, suggesting that leptin has distinct effects on starvation-induced bone marrow fat formation and skeletal acquisition.

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M J Devlin, C Grasemann, A M Cloutier, L Louis, C Alm, M R Palmert, and M L Bouxsein

Maternal high-fat (HF) diet can alter offspring metabolism via perinatal developmental programming. This study tests the hypothesis that maternal HF diet also induces perinatal programming of offspring bone mass and strength. We compared skeletal acquisition in pups from C57Bl/6J mice fed HF or normal diet from preconception through lactation. Three-week-old male and female pups from HF (HF-N) and normal mothers (N-N) were weaned onto normal diet. Outcomes at 14 and 26 weeks of age included body mass, body composition, whole-body bone mineral content (WBBMC) via peripheral dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, femoral cortical and trabecular architecture via microcomputed tomography, and glucose tolerance. Female HF-N had normal body mass and glucose tolerance, with lower body fat (%) but higher serum leptin at 14 weeks vs N-N (P<0.05 for both). WBBMC was 12% lower at 14 weeks and 5% lower at 26 weeks, but trabecular bone volume fraction was 20% higher at 14 weeks in female HF-N vs N-N (P<0.05 for all). Male HF-N had normal body mass and mildly impaired glucose tolerance, with lower body fat (%) at 14 weeks and lower serum leptin at 26 weeks vs N-N (P<0.05 for both). Serum insulin was higher at 14 weeks and lower at 26 weeks in HF-N vs N-N (P<0.05). Trabecular BV/TV was 34% higher and cortical bone area was 6% higher at 14 weeks vs N-N (P<0.05 for both). These data suggest that maternal HF diet has complex effects on offspring bone, supporting the hypothesis that maternal diet alters postnatal skeletal homeostasis.