Nutrition influences peak bone mass development in early adulthood. The effect of high dietary phosphate intake on the growing skeleton of 1-month-old male rats (n = 30) was assessed in an 8-week intervention. High dietary phosphate intake increased bone remodeling and impaired bone material properties, diminishing bone mechanical strength.
Introduction: High dietary phosphate intake is typical in the Western diet. Abundant phosphate intake enhances parathyroid secretion and bone metabolism. To study the influence of high dietary phosphate intake on growing bone homeostasis and structure, we submitted growing rats to experimental diets that varied in their phosphate content.
Materials and methods: One-month-old intact male rats (n = 30) were fed a control diet (Ca:P 1:1) or an experimental diet of either Ca:P 1:2 or Ca:P 1:3 for 8 weeks. At the beginning and the end of the study period, the right femurs were measured using DXA. Double labeling with tetracycline injection was performed 12 and 2 days before death. After death, hind legs were cut loose. Left femurs were processed for histomorphometry. Right femurs were measured with pQCT. Mechanical testing was performed on the right femoral neck and tibial shaft. Six right tibias were analyzed with microCT. Serum PTH, calcium, and phosphate contents were analyzed.
Results: High-phosphate intake impaired growth of the animal, limited bone longitudinal growth, and restricted femur BMC and BMD build-up. Osteoclast number, osteoblast perimeter, and mineral apposition rate were increased, and trabecular area and width were decreased. Phosphate decreased femur midshaft total bone BMD, cortical bone BMD, and mean cortical thickness. High-phosphate diet reduced femoral neck and tibial shaft ultimate strength and tibia stiffness and toughness. In addition, serum PTH increased.
Conclusions: High dietary phosphate intake reduced growth, skeletal material, and structural properties and decreased bone strength in growing male rats. Adequate calcium could not overcome this.