, Volume 85, Issue 2, pp 146-157
Date: 17 Jul 2009

Does Exercise Modify the Effects of Zoledronic Acid on Bone Mass, Microarchitecture, Biomechanics, and Turnover in Ovariectomized Rats?

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Regular activity has effects on bone size, shape, and density, resulting in an increase in mechanical strength. The mechanism of action that underlies this improvement in bone strength is mainly linked to an increase in bone formation. Zoledronic acid (Z), in contrast, may prevent bone strength changes in ovariectomized (OVX) rodents by its potent antiresorptive effects. Based on these assumptions we hypothesized that combined effects of exercise (E) and Z may produce higher benefits on bone changes resulting from estrogen deficiency than either intervention alone. At 6 months of age, 60 female Wistar rats were OVX or sham operated (SH) and divided into five groups: SH, OVX, OVX-E, OVX-Z, and OVX-ZE. OVX rats were treated with a single IV injection of Z (20 μg/kg) or vehicle and submitted or not to treadmill exercise (15 m/min, 60 min/day, 5 days/week) for 12 weeks. Whole-body BMD and bone turnover markers were analyzed longitudinally. At sacrifice, femurs were removed. BMD by DXA, three-point bending test, and μCT were performed to study biomechanical and trabecular structure parameters, respectively. After 12 weeks, bone volume fraction decreased in OVX rats, whereas bone turnover rate, trabecular spacing, and structure model index increased compared with those in the SH group (P < 0.05). Zoledronic acid prevented the ovariectomy-induced trabecular bone loss and its subsequent trabecular microarchitectural deterioration. Treadmill exercise running was shown to preserve the bone strength and to induce bone turnover changes in favor of bone formation. However, the combined effects of zoledronic acid and running exercise applied simultaneously did not produce any synergetic or additive effects.