Dose-response effects of alcohol on biochemical markers of bone turnover in non-human primates: Effects of species, sex and age of onset of drinking

Bone Rep. 2021 Dec 11;16:101159. doi: 10.1016/j.bonr.2021.101159. eCollection 2022 Jun.


Purpose: Alcohol consumption suppressed bone turnover in male non-human primates; however, it is unclear the extent to which this effect depends upon biological variables. Using archived plasma samples, we investigated whether sex, age of onset of alcohol intake, and species influence the effects of graded increases in alcohol consumption on bone turnover markers.

Methods: 91 male and female macaques (rhesus and cynomolgus), ranging in age from 4 years (adolescent) to 10 years (adult) were required to increase their consumption of ethanol in 30-day increments: 0 g/kg/day, followed by 0.5 g/kg/day, 1.0 g/kg/day, and, finally, 1.5 g/kg/day. Plasma osteocalcin (formation), plasma CTX (resorption) and osteocalcin to CTX ratio (turnover balance) were measured during these intervals to assess the dose-response effects of alcohol.

Results: We detected no relationship between dose and osteocalcin when all monkeys were combined, but there was a significant effect of sex (lower levels in females) and interactions between alcohol dose and sex (osteocalcin levels increased with dose in rhesus females). In contrast, we detected a negative linear dose-response relationship for ethanol and CTX. We did not detect a relationship between dose and osteocalcin to CTX ratio overall, but there was a significant positive relationship detected in females (no change in males). Increased age predicted lower biomarker levels for both osteocalcin and CTX. Species was a significant predictor for osteocalcin and the osteocalcin to CTX ratio in these models.

Conclusion: These findings indicate that age, sex, and species influence bone turnover and support the concept that factors beyond quantity of alcohol affect skeletal response to alcohol consumption.

Keywords: CTX; Ethanol; Non-human primate (NHP); Osteocalcin.