Bilateral ovariectomies or sham surgeries were performed in female Sprague Dawley rats that were 78 days of age and weighed an average of 210 g. Food was available ad libitum to the control rats and to a group of ovariectomized rats (obese OVX). The food consumption of a second group of ovariectomized rats (weight-matched OVX) was restricted to match their body weights to those of the control rats. All rats were sacrificed at 14 weeks postovariectomy. Radioimmunoassay of terminal serum estradiol confirmed the success of ovariectomy. The estradiol concentration in control rats was 24.9±20.2 pg/ml, whereas the hormone was undetectable (<10 pg/ml) in both groups of OVX rats. The final body weights of control and weight-matched OVX rats were nearly identical (∼260 g). In contrast, obese OVX rats weighed significantly more than both of the above groups (∼320 g,P<0.001). The proximal tibia and lumbar vertebra were processed undecalcified for quantitative bone histomorphometry. Tibial trabecular bone volume (TBV) was determined to be 17.6±4.5%, 7.9±5.3%, and 3.6±3.1% for the control, obese OVX, and weight-matched OVX groups, respectively. Tibial TBV for both OVX groups was significantly less than the control value (P<0.001). The difference in tibial TBV between obese OVX and weight-matched OVX rats was also statistically significant (P<0.02). Histologic indices of bone resorption and formation were indicative of increased bone turnover in the proximal tibia of both OVX groups. In comparison to control rats, both groups of OVX rats exhibited a strong trend for a reduction in vertebral TBV, but no significant differences were observed among the three groups. Our results suggest that increased body weight provides partial protection against osteopenia in the long bones of OVX rats. However, it is important to note that this protective effect is only partial and that marked osteopenia develops in the long bones of OVX rats regardless of body weight.
Quantitative bone histomorphometryEstrogen deficiencyBody weightOsteopeniaBone turnover