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Free Radic Biol Med. 2013 Dec;65:1209-14. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2013.09.004. Epub 2013 Sep 16.

Evaluation of long-term vitamin E insufficiency or excess on bone mass, density, and microarchitecture in rodents.

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Skeletal Biology Laboratory, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA; Center for Healthy Aging Research, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.


High dietary α-tocopherol levels reportedly result in osteopenia in growing rats, whereas α-tocopherol deficiency in α-tocopherol transfer protein-knockout (α-TTP-KO) mice results in increased cancellous bone mass. Because osteoporosis is a disease associated primarily with aging, we hypothesized that age-related bone loss would be attenuated in α-TTP-KO mice. Cancellous and cortical bone mass and microarchitecture were assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and micro-computed tomography in 2-year-old α-TTP-KO and wild-type (WT) male and female mice fed dl-α-tocopherol acetate. In contrast to our expectations, differences in cancellous bone were not detected between WT and α-TTP-KO mice of either gender, and α-TTP-KO males had lower (p<0.05) cortical bone mass than WT males. We therefore evaluated bone mass, density, and microarchitecture in proximal femur of skeletally mature (8.5-month-old) male Sprague-Dawley rats fed diets containing low (15 IU/kg diet), adequate (75 IU/kg diet), or high (500 IU/kg diet) dl-α-tocopherol acetate for 13 weeks. Low dietary α-tocopherol did not increase bone mass. Furthermore, no reductions in cancellous or cortical bone mass were detected with high dietary α-tocopherol. Failure to detect increased bone mass in aged α-TTP-KO mice or bone changes in skeletally mature rats fed either low or high levels of α-tocopherol does not support the hypothesis that α-tocopherol has a negative impact on bone mass, density, or microarchitecture in rodents.


Free radicals; Osteoporosis; Oxidative stress; Rodent; Skeleton; Vitamin E

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