The aim of this study was to determine the effects of ß-hydroxy-ß-methylbutyrate (HMB) supplementation during pregnancy on postpartum bone tissue quality by assessing changes in trabecular and compact bone as well as in hyaline and epiphyseal cartilage. The experiment was carried out on adult 6-month-old female spiny mice (Acomys cahirinus) divided into three groups: pregnant control (PregCont), pregnant HMB-treated (supplemented with 0.02 g/kg b.w of HMB during the second trimester of pregnancy, PregHMB), and non-pregnant females (NonPreg). Cross-sectional area and cortical index of the femoral mid-shaft, stiffness, and Young modulus were significantly greater in the PregHMB group. Whole-bone mineral density was similar in all groups, and HMB supplementation increased trabecular number. Growth plate cartilage was the thinnest, while the articular cartilage was the thickest in the PregHMB group. HMB supplementation increased the content of proteoglycans in the articular cartilage and the percentage of immature collagen content in metaphyseal trabeculae and compact bone. In summary, dietary HMB supplementation during the second trimester of pregnancy intensifies bone metabolic processes and prevents bone loss during pregnancy.
Keywords: bone; pregnancy; spiny mouse model; β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate.