Our previous studies have shown that dietary xylitol protects against weakening of bone biomechanical properties in experimental postmenopausal osteoporosis. To study whether xylitol preserves bone biomechanics also during aging, a long-term experimental study was performed with rats. Twenty-four male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 2 groups. The rats in the control group (NON-XYL group) were fed a basal rat and mouse no. 1 maintenance (RM1) diet, while the rats in the experimental group (XYL group) were continuously fed the same diet supplemented with 10% xylitol (wt/wt). The rats were killed after 20 months. Their femurs were prepared for biomechanical analyses and scanning analyses with peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). In 3-point bending of the femoral diaphysis, maximum load, maximum elastic load, stiffness, energy absorption, elastic energy absorption, ultimate stress, and yield stress were significantly greater in the XYL group than in the NON-XYL group. This indicates a xylitol-induced improvement of both structural and material strength properties of cortical bone. Accordingly, the maximum load of femoral neck was significantly greater in the XYL group. In the pQCT analysis of femoral diaphysis, cortical bone area, cortical thickness (CtTh) periosteal circumference, and cross-sectional moment of inertia were greater in the XYL group. The endosteal circumference was smaller in the XYL group. In the pQCT analysis of the femoral neck cortical area of the midneck was significantly greater in the XYL group. This data indicates that xylitol exerted beneficial effects on the cross-sectional architecture of the bones. In conclusion, continuous moderate dietary xylitol supplementation leads to improved bone biomechanical properties in aged rats concerning both bone structural and material strength properties.
Copyright 2002 by W.B. Saunders Company