This study delineates the time sequence of changes in bone tissue mineralisation in ovariectomised rats. We report that changes in bone mineral distribution arise secondary to the initial rapid bone loss but coincide with trabecular thickening. We propose that these changes compensate for elevated stresses in remaining trabeculae after bone resorption.
Introduction: Recent studies have shown that osteoporosis is not simply a disease of bone loss and microarchitectural degradation but that important changes in tissue composition also occur. Such changes may be a secondary response to early bone loss, but the time sequence of changes in bone mineral distribution is not fully understood. The objective of this study was to quantify the temporal effects of estrogen deficiency on trabecular mineral distribution in the tibia of ovariectomised (OVX) rats.
Methods: Weekly in vivo micro-CT scans and morphometric and bone mineral density distribution analyses of the proximal tibia were conducted for the first 4 weeks of estrogen deficiency and then at 8, 14 and 34 weeks.
Results: Here we report that although trabecular bone volume and architecture are significantly deteriorated within the first 4 weeks of estrogen deficiency, there is no change in the distribution of bone mineral within trabeculae during this initial period. The rate of bone loss in OVX animals dramatically reduced between week 4 and week 14, which coincided with the initiation of increases in trabecular thickness and mineralisation in the OVX group.
Conclusions: Together this study reveals for the first time that alterations in bone mineralisation and trabecular thickening arise secondary to the initial rapid bone loss. We propose that these secondary mineralisation changes act to reinforce the trabecular network in an attempt to compensate for the increased loading that ensues after severe bone loss. This study provides an insight into temporal changes in bone mineral distribution in estrogen deficiency.
Keywords: In vivo micro-CT; Mineral heterogeneity; Osteoporosis; Ovariectomised rat model; Trabecular morphology.