Environmental medicine : annual report of the Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Nagoya University

Effects of estrogen on tail suspension-induced disuse atrophy in ovariectomized rats: evaluation of the expression of interleukin-6 mRNA in the femur.

PMID 12353531


It is known that estrogen deficiency results in osteoporosis in human and experimental animals. However, how this deficiency affects the development of disuse bone atrophy is not well understood. Recently, it has been reported that estrogen affects the production of cytokines such as interleukin 6 (IL-6) which acts as local bone-resorbing factor. We thus studied how estrogen deficiency caused by ovariectomy and estrogen supplements affects the expression of IL-6 mRNA in the femur of tail-suspended rats. Five-week old female Wistar rats were ovariectomized and divided into two groups. One group received an intramuscular injection of estradiol dipropionate once a week (OVX-E2 group), and the other received the vehicle alone (OVX group). After the third injection, the rats were subjected to tail suspension in metabolic cages for 1, 3, 5 and 7 days. The wet weight of femurs significantly decreased after day 3 of tail-suspension in the OVX group. However, no significant decrease was observed in the OVX-E2 group. The expression of IL-6 mRNA estimated by RT-PCR (reverse transcription coupled polymerase chain reaction) in the femur significantly increased on day 5 after tail suspension in the OVX group. In the OVX-E2 group, that level significantly decreased on day 1 after the commencement of tail suspension. During suspension the level tended to be lower than that in the OVX group, a significant difference being observed on days 5 and 7 of suspension. The present results suggest that estrogen administration to OVX rats prevents both IL-6 production in the femur and the development of disuse bone atrophy induced by tail suspension.