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Am J Physiol. 1998 Jan;274(1 Pt 1):E108-14.

Hindlimb unloading in rat decreases preosteoblast proliferation assessed in vivo with BrdU incorporation.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Biologie du Tissu Osseux, Saint-Etienne University, France.


Immobilization affects bone formation. However, the mechanisms regulating the decrease in osteoblast recruitment remain unclear. The aim of our study was to determine in vivo osteoblastic proliferation after short-term immobilization among the different bone compartments. Twelve Wistar 5-wk-old rats were assigned to two groups: six tail-suspended animals for 6 days and their six age-related controls. Osmotic minipumps, each containing 40 mg of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), were implanted intraperitoneally at day 4 until euthanasia. Histomorphometric measurements found a significantly lower bone volume in primary (ISP, -22%) and secondary spongiosa (IISP, -37%) in unloaded rats compared with their age-related controls. BrdU immunohistochemistry showed that the proliferation capacity of osteogenic precursors in ISP (-29%) and preosteoblasts in IISP (-80%) and in periosteum as well as bone marrow cells (-40%) was lowered by unloading. We demonstrated in vivo for the first time that 6-day tail suspension induced a significant decrease in proliferation of periosteal and trabecular preosteoblasts in ISP and IISP as well as in bone marrow cells.

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