Impact of Chiropractic Manipulation on Bone and Skeletal Muscle of Ovariectomized Rats

Calcif Tissue Int. 2017 Nov;101(5):519-529. doi: 10.1007/s00223-017-0304-1. Epub 2017 Jul 28.


Evidence suggests that chiropractic manipulation might exert positive effects in osteoporotic patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of chiropractic manipulation on bone structure and skeletal muscle in rats with bone loss caused by ovariectomy (OVX). The 6-month old Sprague-Dawley rats at 10 weeks following OVX or sham operation (Sh) did not suffer chiropractic manipulation (NM group) or were submitted to true chiropractic manipulation using the chiropractic adjusting instrument Activator V® three times/week for 6 weeks as follows: Force 1 setting was applied onto the tibial tubercle of the rat right hind limb (TM group), whereas the corresponding left hind limb received a false manipulation (FM group) consisting of ActivatorV® firing in the air and slightly touching the tibial tubercle. Bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) were determined in long bones and L3-L4 vertebrae in all rats. Femora and tibia were analyzed by μCT. Mechano growth factor (MGF) was detected in long bones and soleus, quadriceps and tibial muscles by immunohistochemistry and Western blot. The decrease of BMD and BMC as well as trabecular bone impairment in the long bones of OVX rats vs Sh controls was partially reversed in the TM group versus FM or NM rats. This bone improvement by chiropractic manipulation was associated with an increased MGF expression in the quadriceps and the anterior tibial muscle in OVX rats. These findings support the notion that chiropractic manipulation can ameliorate osteoporotic bone at least partly by targeting skeletal muscle.

Keywords: Chiropractic manipulation; Mechano growth factor (MGF); Osteoporotic bone; Skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Manipulation, Chiropractic*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Osteoporosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Ovariectomy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • mechano-growth factor, rat
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I