Favorable effect of moderate dose caffeine on the skeletal system in ovariectomized rats

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Oct;57(10):1772-84. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201300123. Epub 2013 Jun 10.


Scope: Caffeine, a methylxanthine present in coffee, has been postulated to be responsible for an increased risk of osteoporosis in coffee drinkers; however, the data are inconsistent. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of a moderate dose of caffeine on the skeletal system of rats with normal and decreased estrogen level (developing osteoporosis due to estrogen deficiency).

Methods and results: The experiments were carried out on mature nonovariectomized and ovariectomized Wistar rats, divided into control rats and rats receiving caffeine once daily, 20 mg/kg p.o., for 4 wk. Serum bone turnover markers, bone mass, mass of bone mineral, calcium and phosphorus content, histomorphometric parameters, and bone mechanical properties were examined. Caffeine favorably affected the skeletal system of ovariectomized rats, slightly inhibiting the development of bone changes induced by estrogen deficiency (increasing bone mineralization, and improving the strength and structure of cancellous bone). Moreover, it favorably affected mechanical properties of compact bone. There were no significant effects of caffeine in rats with normal estrogen levels.

Conclusion: In conclusion, results of the present study indicate that low-to-moderate caffeine intake may exert some beneficial effects on the skeletal system of mature organisms.

Keywords: Bone mechanical properties; Caffeine; Osteoporosis; Rats; Skeletal system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage*
  • Caffeine / adverse effects*
  • Calcification, Physiologic / drug effects*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Estrogens / blood
  • Estrogens / deficiency
  • Female
  • Osteoporosis / pathology
  • Ovariectomy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Estrogens
  • Caffeine
  • Cholesterol
  • Calcium