Effects of nicotine on bone and calciotropic hormones in aged ovariectomized rats

Urszula T. Iwaniec, G. R. Haynatzki, Y. K. Fung, M. P. Akhter, M. C. Haven, D. M. Cullen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The objective of this investigation was to assess the effects of chronic nicotine administration on bone status and serum calcium and calciotropic hormone levels in aged, estrogen-replete (intact, sham-operated) and estrogen-deplete (ovariectomized) female rats. Eight-month-old sham-operated (sham) and ovariectomized (ovx) retired breeder rats were maintained untreated for 3 months to allow for the development of osteopenia in the ovx group. The animals were then administered either saline, low dose nicotine (6.0 mg/kg/day), or high dose nicotine (9.0 mg/kg/day) via osmotic minipumps for 3 months. Blood was drawn at necropsy for determination of serum nicotine, cotinine, Ca, PTH, 25(OH)D, and 1,25(OH)2D. Right tibiae were collected and processed undecalcified for cancellous and cortical bone histomorphometry. Histomorphometric end-points evaluated at the proximal tibial metaphysis included cancellous bone volume (BV/TV), osteoclast surface (Oc.S), osteoid surface (OS), mineralizing surface (MS), mineral apposition rate (MAR), and bone formation rate (BFR). Histomorphometric endpoints evaluated at the tibial diaphysis included cortical area (Ct.Ar), marrow area (Ma.Ar), and periosteal and endocortical MS, MAR, and BFR. Ovariectomy resulted in lower cancellous BV/TV and Ct.Ar and higher cancellous, endocortical, and periosteal MS and BFR. The presence of nicotine in serum confirmed successful delivery of the drug via osmotic minipumps. Administration of nicotine at the high dose resulted in lower serum 25(OH)D levels but differences in serum Ca or PTH were not detected with either nicotine treatment. Differences with nicotine treatment were also not detected for Oc.S at the proximal tibia. While treatment with nicotine at the high dose resulted in higher MS and BFR, in both sham and ovx rats, there were no differences due to nicotine treatment in cancellous BV/TV. Marrow area was greater in rats treated with nicotine than in rats treated with vehicle. However, differences with nicotine treatment were not detected in Ct.Ar in either intact or ovx rats. Overall, these findings indicate that steady state nicotine exposure does not alter bone mass in intact or ovx rats but may have detrimental effects on body storage of vitamin D.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-478
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Musculoskeletal Neuronal Interactions
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone histomorphometry
  • Nicotine
  • Osteopenia
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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