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Rhonda D Prisby

Bone tissue is highly vascularized due to the various roles bone blood vessels play in bone and bone marrow function. For example, the vascular system is critical for bone development, maintenance and repair and provides O2, nutrients, waste elimination, systemic hormones and precursor cells for bone remodeling. Further, bone blood vessels serve as egress and ingress routes for blood and immune cells to and from the bone marrow. It is becoming increasingly clear that the vascular and skeletal systems are intimately linked in metabolic regulation and physiological and pathological processes. This review examines how agents such as mechanical loading, parathyroid hormone, estrogen, vitamin D and calcitonin, all considered anabolic for bone, have tremendous impacts on the bone vasculature. In fact, these agents influence bone blood vessels prior to influencing bone. Further, data reveal strong associations between vasodilator capacity of bone blood vessels and trabecular bone volume, and poor associations between estrogen status and uterine mass and trabecular bone volume. Additionally, this review highlights the importance of the bone microcirculation, particularly the vascular endothelium and NO-mediated signaling, in the regulation of bone blood flow, bone interstitial fluid flow and pressure and the paracrine signaling of bone cells. Finally, the vascular endothelium as a mediator of bone health and disease is considered.

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John N Stabley, Rhonda D Prisby, Bradley J Behnke and Michael D Delp

Bone health and cardiovascular function are compromised in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The purpose of this study was to determine whether skeletal vascular control mechanisms are altered during the progression of T2DM in Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats. Responses of the principal nutrient artery (PNA) of the femur from obese ZDF rats with prediabetes, short-term diabetes, and long-term diabetes to endothelium-dependent (acetylcholine) and -independent (sodium nitroprusside) vasodilation and potassium chloride, norepinephrine (NE), and a myogenic vasoconstrictor were determined in vitro. Few changes in the PNA vasomotor responses occurred for the prediabetic and short-term diabetic conditions. Endothelium-dependent and -independent vasodilation were reduced, and NE and myogenic vasoconstriction were increased in obese ZDF rats with long-term diabetes relative to lean age-matched controls. Differences in endothelium-dependent vasodilation of the femoral PNA between ZDF rats and controls were abolished by the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor N G-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester. The passive pressure–diameter response of the femoral PNA was also lower across a range of intraluminal pressures with long-term T2DM. Regional bone and marrow perfusion and vascular conductance, measured in vivo using radiolabeled microspheres, were lower in obese ZDF rats with long-term diabetes. These findings indicate that the profound impairment of the bone circulation may contribute to the osteopenia found to occur in long bones during chronic T2DM.

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Rhonda D Prisby, Joshua M Swift, Susan A Bloomfield, Harry A Hogan and Michael D Delp

Osteopenia and an enhanced risk of fracture often accompany type 1 diabetes. However, the association between type 2 diabetes and bone mass has been ambiguous with reports of enhanced, reduced, or similar bone mineral densities (BMDs) when compared with healthy individuals. Recently, studies have also associated type 2 diabetes with increased fracture risk even in the presence of higher BMDs. To determine the temporal relationship between type 2 diabetes and bone remodeling structural and mechanical properties at various bone sites were analyzed during pre-diabetes (7 weeks), short-term (13 weeks), and long-term (20 weeks) type 2 diabetes. BMDs and bone strength were measured in the femora and tibiae of Zucker diabetic fatty rats, a model of human type 2 diabetes. Increased BMDs (9–10%) were observed in the distal femora, proximal tibiae, and tibial mid- shafts in the pre-diabetic condition that corresponded with higher plasma insulin levels. During short- and long-term type 2 diabetes, various parameters of bone strength and BMDs were lower (9–26%) in the femoral neck, distal femora, proximal tibiae, and femoral and tibial mid-shafts. Correspondingly, blood glucose levels increased by 125% and 153% during short- and long-term diabetes respectively. These data indicate that alterations in BMDs and bone mechanical properties are closely associated with the onset of hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia, which may have direct adverse effects on skeletal tissue. Consequently, disparities in the human literature regarding the effects of type 2 diabetes on skeletal properties may be associated with the bone sites studied and the severity or duration of the disease in the patient population studied.