Calcium absorption and bone loss in ovariectomized rats fed varying levels of dietary calcium

D. N. Kalu, P. B. Orhii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The following studies were undertaken to examine whether estrogen deficiency impairs calcium absorption in aged rats, and to determine whether impaired calcium absorption and the level of dietary calcium are related to the degree of bone loss due to estrogen deficiency. Sixty rats were sham operated (Sham) or ovariectomized (Ovx) to make them estrogen deficient and divided into three dietary groups of 10 rats per group: Group 1 (Sham) and Group 2 (Ovx) were maintained on a diet containing 0.5% calcium; Group 3 (Sham) and Group 4 (Ovx)were maintained on a diet containing 0.1% calcium; Group 5 (Sham) and Group 6 (Ovx) were maintained on a diet containing 0.02% calcium. Calcium absorption was measured in all animals at the beginning of the study and 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, and 3 months following surgery, then the animals were sacrificed. In Ovx rats fed 0.5% Ca diet, calcium absorption decreased progressively and the decrease became statistically significant 8 and 12 weeks following ovariectomy (P < 0.05). A similar ovariectomy-related impairment of calcium absorption was not observed in animals fed diets with lower calcium content, making the Ovx rat a tenuous model of intestinal calcium malabsorption. Low dietary calcium decreased cancellous bone mineral content and density at the proximal tibial metaphysis and the decrease was augmented by ovariectomy. The degree of osteopenia due to ovariectomy was not related to the level of dietary calcium or the efficiency of calcium absorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-77
Number of pages5
JournalCalcified tissue international
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • 1,25(OH)D
  • Bone loss
  • Calcium absorption
  • Ovariectomy
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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