Moderately high consumption of ethanol suppresses bone resorption in ovariectomized but not in sexually intact adult female rats

Paolo Fanti, M. C. Monier-Faugere, Z. Geng, D. Cohen, H. H. Malluche

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15 Scopus citations


Epidemiological studies suggest that moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages may be beneficial for bone in postmenopausal women. To investigate prospectively these uncontrolled observations, female rats were divided in four groups of 10 animals each and treated with 1) ovariectomy (OVX) and 2.5% ethanol diet (OVX-ETOH group), 2) OVX and control diet (OVX-C group), 3) Sham surgery and 2.50 ethanol diet (SHAM-ETOH group), or 3) sham surgery and control diet (SHAM-C group). Three weeks after surgery, bone histomorphometry revealed that the OVX-C group, as expected, had lower trabecular bone volume and higher parameters of bone formation and resorption than the SHAM-C group (o < 0.01). Intake of ethanol did not change these parameters in the SHAM rats, but in the OVX rats it was associated with sharp reduction in parameters of bone resorption (p < 0.01) without a concomitant effect on parameters of bone formation. The cytokines are believed to contribute to accelerated bone resorption during the early postmenopausal period. Indeed, the peripheral blood monocytic cells (PSMC) from the OVX-C rats produced higher amounts of TNF-α than the PBMC from the SHAM-C rats (p < 005) and administration of ethanol prevented this increase in OVX rats but had no effect in SHAM rats. In summary, short-term intake of moderate doses of ethanol was associated with markedly different effects in rats with and without ovarian function. Although ethanol had no significant effect on the bone tissue and TNF-α production of the SHAM rats, it was associated with markedly lower parameters of bone resorption and less TNF-α production in the OVX animals. This suggests that exposure to low-dose ethanol may protect from osteopenia following cessation of ovarian function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1150-1154
Number of pages5
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997


  • Ethanol
  • Metabolism
  • Osteocalcin
  • Osteoporosis
  • Tumor necrosis factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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