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Bone. 1996 Jun;18(6):621-7.

Time-dependent changes in biochemical bone markers and serum cholesterol in ovariectomized rats: effects of raloxifene HCl, tamoxifen, estrogen, and alendronate.

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Lilly Research Laboratories, Indianapolis, IN 46285, USA.


Bone loss associated with postmenopausal osteoporosis can be reduced by treatment with antiresorptive agents such as estrogen or bisphosphonates. Whereas bisphosphonates primarily affect bone loss, estrogens have an advantage of also lowering serum cholesterol levels, although they have a detrimental effect in the uterus. Recently, raloxifene HCl, a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), has been shown to decrease both bone loss and cholesterol levels without the negative uterine effects. These antiresorptive agents reduce bone turnover, which can be evaluated by measuring bone turnover markers. To compare the effects of estrogen, two SERMs (raloxifene HCl and tamoxifen), and alendronate, a bisphosphonate that inhibits bone loss by an estrogen-independent pathway, on metabolic bone markers and cholesterol levels, rats were ovariectomized 2 weeks prior to 3 weeks of daily oral treatment with raloxifene HCl (3 mg/kg), ethynyl estradiol (0.1 mg/kg), tamoxifen (3 mg/kg), or alendronate (3 mg/kg). Raloxifene HCl, tamoxifen, and ethynyl estradiol reduced serum cholesterol to levels below control values within 4 days after initiation of treatment, whereas alendronate had no effect. After 3 weeks of treatment, serum cholesterol values in ethynyl estradiol treated animals, although still below the control value, had risen 6.4-fold; raloxifene HCl and tamoxifen values rose by only 1.4-1.5-fold. Therefore, compared with estrogen, SERMs may have a longer-term suppressive effect on serum cholesterol. At 4 days of treatment, ovariectomized rats had a 1.4-fold increase in serum osteocalcin level compared with controls. Ethynyl estradiol lowered this level within 1 week of treatment by 18%, with a more pronounced reduction of 34% at 3 weeks. In contrast, raloxifene HCl, tamoxifen, or alendronate had very little effect after the first week (6% to 13% reduction), although there was an 18% to 25% reduction by 3 weeks. Urinary pyridinoline levels, elevated 1.4-fold in the ovariectomized rat compared with controls 2 weeks after surgery, were reduced to control values after 2 weeks of treatment with raloxifene HCl, ethynyl estradiol, tamoxifen, or alendronate. These data support the concept that estrogen, raloxifene HCl, tamoxifen, and alendronate inhibit bone loss in the ovariectomized animal by reducing bone resorption. The results also indicate that for treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis, raloxifene HCl may have an advantage over the other antiresorptives studied in having both non-uterotrophic and hypocholesterolemic effects in addition to its ability to inhibit bone resorption.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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