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Am J Physiol. 1988 Dec;255(6 Pt 1):E875-9.

Glucocorticoids and inhibition of bone formation induced by skeletal unloading.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.


Skeletal unloading or loss of normal weight bearing in the growing animal inhibits bone formation and reduces bone calcium. To determine whether the inhibition of bone formation induced by skeletal unloading is a consequence of an increase in plasma glucocorticoids and/or an increase in bone sensitivity to glucocorticoids, we measured plasma corticosterone throughout the day in unloaded and normally loaded rats (hindlimb elevation model) and examined the effect of adrenalectomy on the response of bone to skeletal unloading. Plasma corticosterone levels were similar in normally loaded and unloaded rats at all times. Skeletal unloading in sham-adrenalectomized animals reduced tibial and vertebral calcium by 11.5 and 11.1%, respectively, and in adrenalectomized animals by 15.3 and 20.3%, respectively. Uptake of 45Ca and [3H]proline in the tibia was reduced by 8 and 14%, respectively, in the sham-adrenalectomized animals and by 13 and 19% in the adrenalectomized animals. Bone formation and apposition rates were reduced to the same level in sham- and adrenalectomized animals. These results suggest that the inhibition of bone formation induced by skeletal unloading is not a consequence of increased plasma glucocorticoids or an increase in bone sensitivity to the glucocorticoids but, rather, point to a local mediator in bone that senses mechanical load and transmits that information to the bone-forming cells directly.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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