Calcified Tissue International

, Volume 84, Issue 4, pp 286–296 | Cite as

A Delay in Pubertal Onset Affects the Covariation of Body Weight, Estradiol, and Bone Size



The skeletal system functions as a locomotive organ and a mineral reservoir and combinations of genetic and environmental factors affect the skeletal system. Although delayed puberty is associated with compromised bone mass, suppression of estrogen should be beneficial to cortical strength. The purpose was to employ path analysis to study bone strength and delayed puberty. Forty-five female rats were randomly assigned to a control group (n = 15) and an experimental group (n = 30) that received injections of gonadotropin releasing hormone antagonist (GnRH-a). Causal models were constructed by specifying directed paths between bone traits. The first model tested the hypothesis that the functional relationships between bone traits and body weight were altered by a delay in pubertal onset. GnRH-a injections during puberty altered the covariation between body weight and bone size. The second model was constructed to test the hypothesis that variability in stiffness was causally related to variability in body weight. The model also tested the relationship between the periosteal and endocortical surfaces and their relationship to stiffness. There was no change in the relationship between the surfaces in the GnRH-a group. The third model determined the effect of estradiol on both total area and relative cortical area in both groups. The relationship between periosteal surface and serum estradiol levels was only significant during estrogen suppression. These data suggest that increases in body weight during or prior to puberty may not be protective of bone strength.


Bone architecture/structure Biomechanics Bone histology Bone histomorphometry Steroid hormones Estrogens Path analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of KinesiologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy and Cell BiologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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