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Bone. 1995 Oct;17(4 Suppl):395S-402S.

Changes in bone mineral density and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase in ovariectomized ewes.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins 80523, USA.


An animal model of human osteoporosis which adequately meets many of the criteria needed to test new therapeutic agents is currently unavailable. The old ewe may serve this purpose, as changes in bone remodeling occur within 3 months, and a difference in bone mass has been indicated 6 months after ovariectomy. In the current study, we have measured longitudinal changes in bone mass and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BSAP) for six months in 7-9 year old ovariectomized (OVX) ewes. Thirty ewes were divided into three groups: sham-treated (n = 9), OVX (n = 12) and OVX with estrogen implants (OVXE, n = 9). Bone mineral density (BMD) was determined at 0, 3 and 6 months in the vertebrae (L4-L6/L5-L7), calcaneus (CAL) and distal radius (DR) using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). Bone-Specific Alkaline Phosphatase (Tandem-R Ostase; Hybritech) was determined at monthly intervals. Body weight did not significantly change in any group during treatment compared to sham, although a trend of increasing body weight at 3 and 6 months was apparent in both OVX groups. Luteinizing hormone increased in all OVX ewes as a function of time as expected, demonstrating successful ovariectomies. Uterine weight was significantly increased (p < 0.01) in the OVXE animals compared to Sham and OVX groups. BMD did not change significantly during the 6-month treatment period in the CAL or DR. BMD in the vertebrae (L4-L6/L5-L7) was significantly lower in the OVX group compared to sham (p < 0.08).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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