Effects of Fluoride on Bone in an Animal Model of Vitamin D Deficiency

Indian J Clin Biochem. 2019 Jan;34(1):60-67. doi: 10.1007/s12291-017-0709-7. Epub 2017 Nov 13.


We investigated the combined effect of fluoride exposure and Vitamin D deficiency in causing bone damage as a precursor to development of Fluorotoxic Metabolic Bone Disease. Thirty-six male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 6 groups of six; 3 groups received a Vitamin D deficient diet whereas the other 3 received a Vitamin D adequate diet. Serum total 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD), calcium, phosphorus, creatinine, Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), albumin, Parathyroid hormone (PTH), Osteocalcin and C terminal telopeptide (CTx) were measured following exposure to varying levels of fluoride in drinking water (< 1.0, 15 and 50 ppm). Full body Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) scans were used to examine changes in bone morphology pre and post exposure to fluoride. Renal tubular function was assessed using serum creatinine and urine Cystatin C. Histopathological examination of sections of bone and kidney tissues were also performed. Prior to fluoride exposure, DXA scans revealed a significant decrease in Bone Mineral Density (BMD) and Bone Mineral content (BMC) (p < 0.05) but a significant increase in fat mass (p < 0.05) and fat percentage (p < 0.01) among Vitamin D deficient rats, with no significant change in biochemical parameters. Following exposure to fluoride, BMD was significantly increased (p < 0.05) in both groups with a corresponding increase in serum ALP, bone fluoride content, Osteocalcin, CTx and urine fluoride with increasing levels of fluoride exposure. Serum creatinine calcium and phosphate and urinary cystatin C levels showed no significant changes. Light microscopy examination revealed mild thickening and increased osteoid in 80% of the Vitamin D deficient rats exposed to high levels of fluoride but renal tubular changes were found only in one experimental and one control animal. Fluoride deposited in rat bone affects both osteoblastic and osteoclastic activity. Also, these effects are accentuated in the presence of Vitamin D deficiency.

Keywords: Bone mineral density; Drinking water fluoride levels; Fluoride; Fluorosis; Fluorotoxic metabolic bone disease; Vitamin D deficiency.