It has been reported that in humans from about 11-12 years of age, bone mass begins to increase faster in girls than in boys with the same muscle mass, and by 14-15 years of age, bone mass per unit mass of muscle was found to be significantly higher in girls than in boys. Because around 15 years is the beginning of reproductive age in women, it was suggested that estrogen was involved in the higher bone mass in women during puberty. The present study was undertaken to determine if bone mass per unit muscle mass is higher in female than in male Sprague Dawley (SD) rats during growth, as has been reported in humans during growth and consequently, whether these SD rats are suitable for studying the musculoskeletal effects of estrogen, as may occur in humans during growth, L-4 vertebra of female and male SD rats aged 1-6 months were studied using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). Muscle cross-sectional area was measured as a surrogate for muscle mass and bone mineral content (BMC) was measured as a surrogate for bone mass. From 1 to 6 months of age, total BMC, cortical BMC, and cancellous BMC increased faster in females than in males with similar muscle area, and at 3 and 6 months of age, the above vertebral indices of bone mass were significantly higher in female than in male rats. Since one of the main differences between female and male rats is the level of serum estrogen, the higher bone mass per unit muscle area seen at the L-4 vertebra in these female SD rats is similar to what has been reported in humans during puberty when serum estrogen level is high in females. The findings from this study indicate that female and male SD rats aged 1-6 months can be used as appropriate model for studying the effects of serum estrogen on the skeletal response of voluntary muscle forces, as has been reported in humans during growth.
- Bone density
- Muscle area
- Peripheral quantitative computed tomography
- Sprague Dawley rats
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine