Nitroglycerin Reverses Bone Loss in Ovariectomized Rats


Restoration of ovariectomy-induced osteopenia by nitroglycerin.

Nitric oxide (NO) is known to inhibit osteoclastic bone resorption. Previously, we demonstrated that the NO donor nitroglycerin (NG) prevented ovariectomy (OVX)-induced bone loss. The current study shows that NG restores ovariectomy-induced osteopenia. Twenty-four female Sprague-Dawley rats, 36 weeks of age, underwent OVX, and a further six rats were sham-operated. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometric (DXA) scanning prior to OVX, at 6 weeks postsurgery, and at 6 weeks posttreatment. OVX rats were then assigned to four groups and treated with either (1) vehicle, (2) 17-beta-estradiol, (3) NG (0.2 mg/kg/day), or (4) a combination of estrogen and NG (n = 6/group). During the first 6-week post-OVX period, there was a significant decrease in the BMD in all ovariectomized (OVXed) rats (-11.0%, P < 0.001). There were no significant changes in BMD during the entire 12-week period in sham-operated rats. During the second 6-week period (after developing bone loss), there was no further significant loss of BMD in OVXed controls. BMD loss and loss of femur weight produced by OVXed were restored by treatment with estrogen, NG, or the two agents together during the second 6-week period (P < 0.01). The effects of estrogen and NG together, however, were not additive. The BMD of rats treated with NG alone, at 12 weeks, was similar to that of animals treated with estrogen alone or with estrogen and NG, and was comparable to that of sham-operated rats. The increased urinary excretion of deoxypyridinolines caused by OVX was negated by estrogen, NG, and estrogen together with NG (P < 0.01). In contrast to estrogen, NG did not decrease the post-OVX-induced increase of serum osteocalcin levels, suggesting that NG may also have a positive effect on bone formation. In summary, the results suggest that the NO donor, NG, reverses the OVX-induced bone loss in rats, and these effects are likely due to decreased bone resorption and, perhaps, increased bone formation.

Wimalawansa SJ
Calcif. Tissue Int. Jan 2000
PMID: 10602846