Chronic heavy alcohol use is often associated with reduced bone mineral density and altered bone turnover. However, the dose response effects of ethanol on bone turnover have not been established. This study examined the effects of graded increases of ethanol consumption on biochemical markers of bone turnover in young adult male cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis). For this study, 6.6-year-old (95% CI: 6.5, 6.7) male macaques were subjected to three 30-day sessions of increased ethanol intake over a 90-day interval. During the first 30 days, the monkeys drank a predetermined volume of ethanol corresponding to 0.5 g/kg/day, followed by 1.0 g/kg/day and 1.5 g/kg/day. Osteocalcin, a marker of bone formation, and carboxyterminal cross-linking telopeptide of type 1 collagen (CTX), a marker of resorption, were measured during each 30-day session. In addition, the ratio of osteocalcin to CTX was determined as a surrogate measure of global turnover balance. Mean osteocalcin decreased by 2.6 ng/mL (1.8, 3.5) for each one-half unit (0.5 g/kg/day) increase in dose (p < 0.001). Mean CTX decreased by 0.13 ng/mL (0.06, 0.20) for each one-half unit increase in dose (p < 0.001). Furthermore, there was an inverse relationship between dose and the ratio of osteocalcin to CTX, such that the mean ratio decreased by 0.9 (0.3, 1.5) for each one-half unit increase in dose (p = 0.01). In summary, male cynomolgus macaques had decreased blood osteocalcin and CTX, and osteocalcin to CTX ratio during the 90-day interval of graded increases in ethanol consumption, indicative of reduced bone turnover and negative turnover balance, respectively. These findings suggest that over the range ingested, ethanol resulted in a linear decrease in bone turnover. Furthermore, the negative bone turnover balance observed is consistent with reported effects of chronic alcohol intake on the skeleton.
Keywords: CTX; bone; ethanol; non-human primate; osteocalcin.
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