Bone Strength/Bone Mass Discrepancy in Glucocorticoid-Treated Adult Mice

Alanna M. Dubrovsky, Jeffrey S. Nyman, Sasidhar Uppuganti, Kenneth J. Chmiel, Donald B. Kimmel, Nancy E. Lane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glucocorticoids increase bone fragility in patients in a manner that is underestimated by bone mass measurement. This study aimed to determine if the adult mouse could model this bone strength/bone mass discrepancy. Forty-two 13-week-old BALB/cJ mice were randomized into vehicle and glucocorticoid groups, implanted with vehicle or 6-methylprednisolone pellets, and necropsied after 60 and 120 days. Bone strength and bone mass/microarchitecture were assessed at the right central femur (CF; cortical-bone–rich) and sixth lumbar vertebral body (LVB6; trabecular-bone–rich). Bound water (BW) of the whole right femur was analyzed by proton-nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) relaxometry. Data were analyzed by two-factor ANOVA with time (day 60 and day 120) and treatment (vehicle and glucocorticoid) as main effects for all data. Significant interactions were further analyzed with a Tukey's post hoc test. Most bone strength measures in the CF were lower in the glucocorticoid group, regardless of the duration of treatment, with no time × treatment interaction. However, bone mass measures in the CF showed a significant time × treatment interaction (p = 0.0001). Bone strength measures in LVB6 showed a time × treatment interaction (p < 0.02) such that LVB6 strength was lower after 120 days of glucocorticoids compared with 120 days of vehicle treatment. Whole-femur–BW was lower with both glucocorticoid treatment (p = 0.0001) and time (p < 0.02), with a significant time × treatment interaction (p = 0.005). Glucocorticoid treatment of male BALB/cJ mice resulted in the lowering of bone strength in both cortical and trabecular bone that either appeared earlier or was greater than the treatment-related changes in bone mass/microarchitecture. The adult mouse may be a good model for investigating the bone strength/mass discrepancy observed in glucocorticoid-treated patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJBMR Plus
StateAccepted/In press - 2020



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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