Calcium metabolism and bone mass in female rabbits during skeletal maturation: Effects of dietary calcium intake

S. A. Norris, J. M. Pettifor, D. A. Gray, R. Buffenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


This study documents growth and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)-determined peak bone mass profiles in the rabbit model, and tests the hypothesis that rabbits show patterns of bone accretion similar to humans and thus may serve as a viable model for human bone physiology. It is also shown that dietary Ca intake affects peak bone mass and the temporal pattern of its attainment. Groups of weaned animals were administered two nutritionally complete but calcium-altered diets (0.5% or 1.0% Ca). We evaluated growth, bone mass accretion, and Ca metabolism from 20 to 56 weeks of age in both the 1.0% Ca and 0.5% Ca groups of rabbits. For each monthly period, we monitored body mass, naso-tail length, food consumption, and fecal output. In addition, we collected blood and 24 h urine samples for biochemical analyses, and measured bone mass variables of the lumbar spine with DXA. The 1.0% Ca group had a lower apparent fractional absorption of Ca and higher urinary Ca excretion, but retained more Ca than the 0.5% Ca group during the growth phase. Furthermore, the 1.0% Ca group had lower parathyroid hormone (PTH) and bone biochemical marker concentrations throughout the study than the 0.5% Ca group. The lower levels of PTH and bone markers of resorption and formation, may have resulted in a reduction in skeletal remodeling, and this physiological mechanism may have contributed to the 10% increase in peak bone mineral density of the lumbar spine in the 1.0% Ca group of rabbits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-69
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Dietary calcium intake
  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)
  • Peak bone mass
  • Rabbit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology
  • Physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Calcium metabolism and bone mass in female rabbits during skeletal maturation: Effects of dietary calcium intake'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this