Residual ridge resorption (RRR) is a chronic and progressive bone resorption following tooth loss. It causes deterioration of the oral environments and leads to the pathogenesis of various systemic diseases. However, the molecular mechanisms and risk factors for RRR progression are still unclear and controversial. In this study, we developed a tooth extraction model using mice for analyzing long-term morphological and gene expression changes in the alveolar bone. We further applied ovariectomy to this model to elucidate the effects of osteoporosis on RRR progression. As a result, the alveolar bone loss was biphasic and consisted of rapid loss in the early stages and subsequently slow and sustained bone loss over a long period. Histological analysis indicated that ovariectomy prolonged the activation of osteoclasts in the alveolar bone. Furthermore, the expressions of Tnfsf11 and Sema4d kept increasing for a long time in OVX mice. Administration of neutralization antibodies for receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) effectively suppressed RRR. Similarly, inhibition of Semaphorin 4D (Sema4D) also improved alveolar bone loss. This study demonstrated that reduced ovarian function may be a risk factor for RRR and that RANKL and Sema4D suppression are potential treatments.
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