Botulinum Toxin A and Osteosarcopenia in Experimental Animals: A Scoping Review

Toxins (Basel). 2021 Mar 14;13(3):213. doi: 10.3390/toxins13030213.


We conducted a scoping review to investigate the effects of intramuscular injection of Botulinum Toxin A (BoNT-A) on bone morphology. We investigated if the muscle atrophy associated with Injection of BoNT-A had effects on the neighboring bone. We used the search terms: osteopenia, bone atrophy, Botulinum Toxin A, Micro-CT, mice or rat. The following databases were searched: Medline, Embase, PubMed and the Cochrane Library, between 1990 and 2020. After removal of duplicates, 228 abstracts were identified of which 49 studies satisfied our inclusion and exclusion criteria. The majority of studies (41/49) reported a quantitative reduction in at least one measure of bone architecture based on Micro-CT. The reduction in the ratio of bone volume to tissue volume varied from 11% to 81% (mean 43%) according to the experimental set up and study time points. While longer term studies showed muscle recovery, no study showed complete recovery of all bone properties at the termination of the study. In experimental animals, intramuscular injection of BoNT-A resulted in acute muscle atrophy and acute degradation of the neighboring bone segment. These findings may have implications for clinical protocols in the use of Botulinum Toxin in children with cerebral palsy, with restraint recommended in injection protocols and consideration for monitoring bone density. Clinical studies in children with cerebral palsy receiving injections of Botulinum are indicated.

Keywords: Botulinum Toxin A; cerebral palsy; experimental animals; muscle atrophy; osteopenia; sarcopenia.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / chemically induced*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / physiopathology
  • Bone Remodeling / drug effects*
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects*
  • Bone and Bones / physiopathology
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / administration & dosage
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / toxicity*
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Mice
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sarcopenia / chemically induced*
  • Sarcopenia / diagnostic imaging
  • Time Factors
  • X-Ray Microtomography


  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A