The purpose of the present study was to determine whether etidronate treatment could prevent bone loss caused by orchidectomy (ORX) and unilateral sciatic neurectomy (NX) in adult male rats. Seventy-four male Wistar rats, aged 10 months, were randomly divided into eight groups: baseline controls (n = 10); age-matched sham-operated controls (AMC; n = 9); ORX (n = 9); NX (n = 10); ORX + NX (n = 9); ORX + etidronate treatment (ORX + E; n = 7); NX + E (n = 10); and ORX + NX + E (n = 10). Etidronate treatment (10 mg/kg per day subcutaneously) was initiated 2 weeks after surgery and was continued for 2 weeks. Four weeks after surgery, bone mineral density (BMD) of the proximal and middle tibia (PT and MT, respectively), distal and middle femur (DF and MF, respectively), and fourth lumbar vertebral body (LVB) was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (Model DCS-600, Aloka, Tokyo, Japan). The mechanical properties of the MF and third LVB were measured by three-point bending and compression tests, respectively. Levels of urinary deoxypyridinoline (Dpd) and serum osteocalcin (Oc) were also measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Four weeks of aging had no significant effects on BMD, bone mechanical properties, or bone markers. ORX significantly increased the levels of urinary Dpd and serum Oc, which resulted in significant decreases in BMD of the PT, MT, DF, MF, and fourth LVB, as well as the mechanical strength (maximum load) of the MF and third LVB. NX significantly increased levels of urinary Dpd and decreased levels of serum Oc, resulting in a significant decrease in BMD of the PT, DF, and fourth LVB. The ORX-induced decrease in BMD of the PT was more pronounced when combined with NX. Etidronate treatment for NX, ORX, and ORX + NX rats significantly decreased levels of urinary Dpd and serum Oc, resulting in complete prevention of loss of BMD and/or bone mechanical strength. The present study demonstrates the efficacy of etidronate treatment for prevention of bone loss caused by testosterone deficiency and immobilization in adult male rats.
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