, 36:9669 | Cite as

Life-long caloric restriction does not alter the severity of age-related osteoarthritis

  • Jenna N. McNeill
  • Chia-Lung Wu
  • Karyne N. Rabey
  • Daniel Schmitt
  • Farshid GuilakEmail author


Chronic adipose tissue inflammation and its associated adipokines have been linked to the development of osteoarthritis (OA). It has been shown that caloric restriction may decrease body mass index and adiposity. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effect of lifelong caloric restriction on bone morphology, joint inflammation, and spontaneously occurring OA development in aged mice. C57BL/NIA mice were fed either a calorie-restricted (CR) or ad libitum (AL) diet starting at 14 weeks of age. All mice were sacrificed at 24 months of age. Adipose tissue and knee joints were then harvested. Bone parameters of the joints were analyzed by micro-CT. OA and joint synovitis were determined using histology and semiquantitative analysis. Lifelong caloric restriction did not alter the severity of OA development in C57BL/NIA aged mice, and there was no difference in the total joint Mankin score between CR and AL groups (p = 0.99). Mice also exhibited similar levels of synovitis (p = 0.54). The bone mineral density of the femur and the tibia was comparable between the groups with a small increase in cancellous bone volume fraction in the lateral femoral condyle of the CR group compared with the AL group. Lifelong caloric restriction did not alter the incidence of OA or joint synovitis in C57BL/NIA mice, indicating that a reduction of caloric intake alone was not sufficient to prevent spontaneous age-related OA. Nonetheless, early initiation of CR continued throughout a life span did not negatively impact bone structural properties.


Osteoarthritis Bone density Synovitis Inflammation Osteoporosis 



The authors would like to thank Steve Johnson for assistance with animal handling and Dr. Mark Hamrick with his assistance in acquiring the mice. This study was supported in part by NIH grants AG46927, AR50245, AG15768, AR48852, and AR48182.


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Copyright information

© American Aging Association 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenna N. McNeill
    • 1
  • Chia-Lung Wu
    • 1
    • 3
  • Karyne N. Rabey
    • 2
  • Daniel Schmitt
    • 2
  • Farshid Guilak
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Evolutionary AnthropologyDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical EngineeringDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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