Severe bone alteration under β2 agonist treatments: Bone mass, microarchitecture and strength analyses in female rats

Université d'Orléans, Orléans, Centre, France
Bone (Impact Factor: 3.97). 12/2005; 37(5):622-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.bone.2005.07.012
Source: PubMed


Beta2 adrenergic agonists are widely used in therapeutics and as doping agents by athletes. However, their effects on bone tissue, especially bone microarchitecture, remain poorly understood. Using three-dimensional (3D) microtomography, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, biomechanical testing and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we evaluated the effects of two beta2 agonists, clenbuterol and salbutamol, on bone in growing rats.
Twelve-week-old Wistar female rats (N = 39), divided in 3 groups, received during 6 weeks either salbutamol (4 mg/kg/day), clenbuterol (2 mg/kg/day) or normal saline (0.5 ml/kg/day) by subcutaneous injections.
After 6 weeks, the salbutamol and clenbuterol groups displayed lower bone mineral content (BMC), femoral length and cortical width than controls. Clenbuterol treatment further reduced bone mineral density. Bone microarchitecture was clearly altered by clenbuterol, as evidenced by lower trabecular number (-40.40%; P < 0.001), connectivity and trabecular bone volume (-42.85%; P < 0.001), leading to lower ultimate force. Clenbuterol significantly increased muscle mass (P < 0.01) and reduced fat mass when compared to controls. Salbutamol did not seem to have any effect on bone microarchitecture or body composition. Both beta2 agonists increased the bone resorption marker (C-terminal collagen crosslinks) without any change of a bone formation marker. At the end of the treatment, a drop in leptin was seen in the clenbuterol group only. Leptin levels were correlated with BMC (r = 0.69, P = 0.003).
These results confirm the deleterious effect of beta2 agonists on bone mass and show the negative effects of clenbuterol on trabecular bone microarchitecture. Bone loss occurred independently from muscle mass but was related to fat mass. A leptin-mediated effect on bone tissue seems likely. These pathophysiological effects may have important consequences in human therapeutics and doping.

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