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J Bone Miner Res. 1996 Jun;11(6):780-8.

Changes in biological activity of bone cells in ovariectomized rats revealed by in situ hybridization.

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Department of Oral Pathology, School of Dentistry, Showa University, Tokyo, Japan.


Twelve-week-old female rats were ovariectomized (OVX) and compared with sham-operated control rats at 3, 5, 7, 10, 14, 30, and 60 days postoperation with respect to the expression of type I collagen and osteopontin mRNAs, as well as bone structure and the number of osteoclasts. The trabecular number and separation were significantly decreased and increased, respectively, in the metaphyseal trabecular bones of OVX rat femurs. The number of osteoclasts was significantly increased in the same region of OVX rats at 3 and 5 days postoperation. Type I collagen mRNA was expressed in osteoblasts, and osteopontin mRNA was expressed in some osteoclasts, in mononuclear cells on the bone resorption surface, and in osteocytes near the resorption surface. In the metaphyseal trabecular bone, type I collagen and osteopontin mRNA expression levels in individual cells was initially increased in OVX rats from 7 to 10 days postoperation, and this was sustained for 60 days. The number of osteopontin mRNA-expressing osteocytes was also significantly increased at 10 days postoperation, which lasted until 60 days. In the epiphysis, an increase in type I collagen mRNA expression was initially observed in OVX rats at 14 days postoperation, which lasted until 60 days. The number of osteopontin mRNA-expressing osteocytes was virtually identical until 30 days postoperation in the epiphysis. These findings indicated that the biological activities of osteoblasts and osteocytes are stimulated in bones of the OVX rat and that the response for OVX differs between the metaphysis and epiphysis. Furthermore, the number of osteopontin mRNA-expressing osteocytes was increased only in bones that tended to be resorbed after OVX. This indicates that some osteocytes were stimulated to express osteopontin mRNA by estrogen deficiency and suggests that these osteopontin mRNA-expressing osteocytes may be involved in regulation of bone metabolism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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