Substrain-specific differences in bone parameters, alpha-2-macroglobulin circulating levels and osteonecrosis incidence in a rat model.

Journal of Orthopaedic Research

PubMedID: 26895739

Carli AV, Harvey EJ, Azeddine B, Gao C, Li Y, Li A, Sayegh M, Wang H, Nahal A, Michel RP, Henderson JE, Séguin C. Substrain-specific differences in bone parameters, alpha-2-macroglobulin circulating levels and osteonecrosis incidence in a rat model. J Orthop Res. 2016;.
Osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH) is a potentially devastating complication that occurs in up to 40% of young adults receiving chronic glucocorticoid (GC) therapy. Through a validated GC therapy rat model, we have previously shown that Wistar Kyoto (WK) rats exhibit a genetic susceptibility to GC-induced ONFH compared to Sasco Fischer (F344) rats. We have undertaken this study in order to investigate differences between these two strains for their bone parameters, alpha-2-macroglobulin (A2M) circulating levels and incidence of GC-induced osteonecrosis of the femoral head. WK and F344 rats were treated either with 1. 5mg/kg/day of prednisone or placebo for six months. Blood was taken every month. The femoral heads were harvested for histological examination to detect ONFH and analyzed with micro-computed tomography. After three months of GC-therapy, plasma A2M was elevated in treated rats only. GC-treated WK rats exhibited histological evidence of early ONFH through higher rates of cellular apoptosis and empty osteocyte lacunae in the subchondral bone compared to placebos and to F344 rats. Furthermore, micro-CT analysis exhibited femoral head collapse only in GC-treated WK rats. Interestingly, GC-treated F344 rats exhibited significant micro-CT changes, but such changes were less concentrated in the articular region and were accompanied histologically with increased marrow fat. These µCT and histological findings suggest that elevated A2M serum level is not predictive and suitable as an indicative biomarker for early GC-induced ONFH in rodents. Elevated A2M levels observed during GC treatment suggests that it plays role in the host reparative response to GC-associated effects. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.