Systemic administration of acidic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-1) prevents bone loss and increases new bone formation in ovariectomized rats

C. R. Dunstan, R. Boyce, B. F. Boyce, I. R. Garrett, E. Izbicka, W. H. Burgess, G. R. Mundy

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101 Scopus citations


There are no universally accepted agents that will substantially increase bone mass in osteoporotic patients. A number of peptides important in normal bone formation, such as members of the transforming growth factor- β superfamily, are not satisfactory for this purpose either because their beneficial effects are predominantly local or there is systemic toxicity associated with their administration. We have examined the effects of exogenous fibroblast growth factor-1 and -2 (FGF-1 and FGF-2) on bone in vivo, since FGFs have been shown recently to be essential for normal skeletal development. FGF-1 was injected daily (0.2 mg/kg intravenously) for 28 days into the tail vein of adult female rats immediately following and 6 months after sham operation or ovariectomy (OVX). In rats treated immediately post- OVX, OVX produced more than a 30% decrease in tibial bone density, which was prevented by FGF-1 and estrogen. However, FGF-1 also had an anabolic effect. In sham-operated rats, FGF-1 increased bone density to 2-fold, whereas estrogen had no effect. In rats 6 months post-OVX, severe bone loss and disruption of trabecular microarchitecture occurred similar to that seen in patients with severe osteoporosis. In these rats, administration of FGF-1 induced extensive new woven bone formation with new trabecular-like structures filling much of the marrow spaces, and bone density in the tibial metaphysis increased 3-fold. FGF-1 and FGF-2 were also administered subcutaneously over the calvaria of mice in doses of 2-2000 μg/day for 3 days and shown to produce substantial increases in bone formation when examined morphologically. Thus, we conclude that both local and systemic FGF- 1 increases new bone formation and bone density, and systemic FGF-1 also appears to restore bone microarchitecture and prevent bone loss associated with estrogen-withdrawal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)953-959
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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