Nicotine Not Responsible for Negative Effects of Smoking on Bone Density in Rats


The effect of long-term nicotine exposure on bone mineral density and oxidative stress in female Swiss Albino rats.

To evaluate the effect of long-term low or high-dose nicotine exposure on bone mass via measuring bone mineral density (BMD) and oxidant-antioxidant status markers.
Thirty-five female Swiss Albino rats weighing 70 ± 10 g were divided as the control group (n = 12), low-dose nicotine group (n = 12) and high-dose nicotine group (n = 11). While the control group was given only normal drinking water, the low-dose nicotine group had 0.4 mg/kg per day and the high-dose nicotine group, 6.0 mg/kg per day of nicotine added to their water for the period of 1 year. BMD was determined with X-ray absorptiometry of lumbar vertebra, corpus femoris, proximal and distal femur. To evaluate oxidant-antioxidant status malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activities were determined.
When comparing the nicotine groups and controls, neither BMD nor oxidant-antioxidant status markers showed any statistically significant difference. In comparison to the controls, 12 months of high-dose oral nicotine exposure did not have a significant effect on BMD and low-dose nicotine exposure led to a statistically insignificant increase in BMD.
Contrary to common belief, the results of this study show that nicotine is not responsible for the decrease in BMD leading to osteoporosis frequently seen in smokers. However, there is a need to explore the other harmful materials in tobacco which may be responsible for the alterations seen in BMD of smokers.

Turan V, Mizrak S, Yurekli B, Yilmaz C…
Arch. Gynecol. Obstet. Feb 2013
PMID: 22955292