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02 July 2019 : Animal Research

Protective Effect of Alendronate on Lumbar Facet Degeneration in Ovariectomized Rats

Nan Zhang12ACDEF, Faming Tian3ACF, Yu Gou14ABCDEF, Tiangang Chen5BF, Qingfu Kong5BD, Qinglie Lv5BD, Hetong Li5BD, Liu Zhang16AG*

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.916978

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:4907-4915

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Facet joint degeneration (FJD) is a potential source of lower back pain, and estrogen deficiency can accelerate FJD. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of alendronate (ALN) on FJD induced by ovariectomy (OVX) in rats.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Thirty female Sprague-Dawley rats underwent either bilateral OVX (n=20) or sham surgery (n=10). The OVX rats subsequently received either subcutaneous ALN (70 µg/kg/week) or vehicle for 12 weeks. Subchondral bone mass and microarchitecture were evaluated by micro-computed tomography. Cartilage degradation was evaluated by toluidine blue staining and histological scoring.

RESULTS: Compared with the Sham group, the OVX group had significantly decreased bone mineral density, bone volume/trabecular volume, and trabecular thickness, significantly increased trabecular separation in subchondral bone, and significantly higher histological score for cartilage degeneration, particularly loss of cartilage thickness. ALN treatment significantly reversed the changes in subchondral bone, preserved cartilage thickness, and reduced the histological score. Immunohistochemical analyses showed significantly decreased expression of ADAMTS-4, MMP-13, and caspase-3 in the OVX+ALN group compared with the OVX group.

CONCLUSIONS: Treatment with ALN suppressed bone loss, subchondral bone architecture deterioration, and cartilage degeneration in OVX rats, which can be explained by roles of ALN in preservation of subchondral bone mass and microarchitecture, and counteraction of catabolism and chondrocyte apoptosis in cartilage.

Keywords: alendronate, Cartilage, Models, Animal, Ovariectomy

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