Objectives: Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by a reduction in bone mass, poor bone strength, and microarchitectural deterioration primarily in postmenopausal women. With respect to periodontal disease, osteoporosis is thought to contribute to pre-existing alveolar degeneration although the association between both diseases is not fully characterized. The aim of the present study was to observe the initial changes in mandibular alveolar bone for sham-operated and ovariectomized (OVX) rats in ligature-induced experimental periodontitis.
Materials and methods: A total of 64 Wistar rats (7 weeks of age, 180-200 g) were used in this study (32 control sham-operated animals + ligature placement, 32 OVX animals + ligature placement). Following an 8-week period to induce an OVX model, micro-CT analysis was performed to calculate vertical and furcation bone loss of mandibular first molars at time points 0, 3, 7, and 11 days following ligature placement (six animals per group per time point). Furthermore, histological analysis was performed to calculate the loss of alveolar bone crest height from the cemento-enamel junction, and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining was utilized to calculate the number of osteoclasts.
Results: The results from the present study demonstrate that OVX animals showed significant vertical bone loss at all time points when compared to control sham-operated animals. In the furcation area, no significant difference in bone loss was observed between sham-operated and OVX animals at 0, 3, and 7 days; however by 11 days, a significant decrease in bone volume/total volume and trabecular thickness was observed in the OVX group. The histological analysis also revealed that alveolar bone crest height was significantly reduced in OVX animals, and TRAP staining further revealed the greater number of multinucleated osteoclasts peaking at 3 days postligature placement.
Conclusion: The results from the present study demonstrate a direct correlation between the osteoporotic phenotype and the progression of periodontal breakdown in a diseased-induced animal model.
Clinical relevance: It may be suggested that an osteoporotic phenotype has the potential to speed periodontal breakdown and thus contributes to the overall degeneration of the periodontium in patients suffering from postmenopausal bone loss. Future research from human clinical studies are necessary to further understand the relationship between periodontal disease and osteoporosis.
Keywords: Osteoporosis; Ovariectomy; Periodontal disease; Periodontitis.