Effects of alcohol on skeletal response to growth hormone in hypophysectomized rats.

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Bone-Marrow, Bone-Remodeling, Ethanol, Growth-Hormone, Hypophysectomy, Male, Pituitary-Gland, Random-Allocation, Rats, Rats-Sprague-Dawley, Tibia

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Bone 2010 Mar; 46(3):806-12.


Chronic alcohol abuse is an established risk factor for osteoporosis. However, the precise mechanisms for the bone loss are largely unknown. Alcohol decreases skeletal expression of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), an important growth hormone (GH)-regulated skeletal growth factor. Therefore, we investigated the effects of alcohol on the skeletal response to GH in male Sprague-Dawley rats made GH-deficient by hypophysectomy (HYPOX). Four groups of sexually mature (3-month-old) rats were studied: pituitary-intact (control), HYPOX, HYPOX + GH, and HYPOX + alcohol + GH. All animals were transferred to a liquid diet 6 days following surgery. The alcohol-fed group was adapted to a graded increase in alcohol beginning 11 days following surgery. GH or vehicle was administered during the final 8 days of study and all animals were sacrificed 25 days following surgery. HYPOX resulted in cessation of body weight gain and tibial growth. Compared to controls, longitudinal bone growth and cancellous bone formation were lower following HYPOX. The latter was associated with lower mineralizing perimeter/bone perimeter. Bone marrow adiposity was higher following HYPOX. Compared to HYPOX, GH treatment increased body weight gain and bone formation rate, and decreased bone marrow adiposity. In contrast to the effects of GH treatment without alcohol, bone marrow adiposity did not differ between HYPOX and alcohol-fed GH-treated HYPOX rats. Alcohol did not alter GH-induced weight gain or increases in serum IGF-I levels, but significantly impaired the effects of GH on tibial growth and cancellous bone formation. We conclude that the detrimental skeletal effects of alcohol abuse observed in this experiment are mediated, at least in part, by skeletal resistance to GH.