R.N. Joshi, F.F. Safadi, M. Barbe, Fe Del Carpio-Cano, S. Popoff and V.R. Yingling
Hypothalamic amenorrhea and energy restriction during puberty affect peak bone mass accrual. One hypothesis suggests energy restriction alters hypothalamic function resulting in suppressed estradiol levels leading to bone loss. However, both positive and negative results have been reported regarding energy restriction and bone strength. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate energy restriction and hypothalamic suppression during pubertal onset on bone mechanical strength and the osteogenic capacity of bone marrow-derived cells in two models: female rats treated with gonadotropin releasing hormone antagonists (GnRH-a) or 30% energy restriction. At 23 days of age, female Sprague Dawley rats were assigned to three groups: control group (C, n = 10), GnRH-a group (n = 10), and Energy Restriction (ER, n = 12) group. GnRH-a animals received daily injections for 27 days. The animals in the ER group received 70% of the control animals' intake. After sacrifice (50 days of age), body weight, uterine and muscle weights were measured. Bone marrow-derived stromal cells were cultured and assayed for proliferation and differentiation into osteoblasts. Outcome measures included bone strength, bone histomorphometry and architecture, serum IGF-1 and osteocalcin. GnRH-a suppressed uterine weight, decreased osteoblast proliferation, bone strength, trabecular bone volume and architecture compared to control. Elevated serum IGF-1 and osteocalcin levels and body weight were found. The ER model had an increase in osteoblast proliferation compared to the GnRH-a group, similar bone strength relative to body weight and increased trabecular bone volume in the lumbar spine compared to control. The ER animals were smaller but had developed bone strength sufficient for their size. In contrast, suppressed estradiol via hypothalamic suppression resulted in bone strength deficits and trabecular bone volume loss. In summary, our results support the hypothesis that during periods of nutritional stress the increased vertebral bone volume may be an adaptive mechanism to store mineral which differs from suppressed estradiol resulting from hypothalamic suppression.