Effect of estrogen on the development of disuse atrophy of bone and muscle induced by tail-supension in rats

Environ Med. 1997 Dec;41(2):89-92.


Rat tail-suspension induces disuse atrophy of muscles and bones in hindlimbs. In the present investigation we studied how ovariectomy and estrogen substitution affect the development of the disuse atrophy induced by suspension. Five-week old female Wistar rats were ovariectomized and divided into two groups. One group received intramuscular injection of estradiol dipropionate once a week (OVX-E2 group), and the other received a vehicle injection (OVX group). After the third injection, each group was further divided into two groups, tail-suspended and non-suspended. After 7 days of tail-suspension, a significant decrease in the wet weight of femurs and their Ca and Pi content was observed in the OVX group. However, no significant change in those parameters was observed in the E2 group. In both E2 and OVX groups, a significant decrease in the wet weight of soleus and gastrocnemius muscles was demonstrated after the suspension. This demonstrated that estrogen administration to ovariectomized rats prevents the development of disuse bone atrophy but not that of muscle atrophy, suggesting that estrogen plays important roles in bone remodeling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Bone Remodeling / drug effects
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology
  • Bone Resorption / etiology
  • Bone Resorption / prevention & control*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Eating
  • Estradiol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Femur / anatomy & histology
  • Femur / drug effects*
  • Femur / metabolism
  • Hindlimb Suspension / adverse effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscular Atrophy / etiology
  • Muscular Atrophy / prevention & control*
  • Organ Size
  • Phosphorus / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Phosphorus
  • Estradiol
  • estradiol dipropionate
  • Calcium