Background It has been suggested that the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is involved in bone metabolism and that blockade of the SNS could reduce bone loss and stimulate bone formation. However, the question of whether suppression of SNS tone could compensate for mechanical unloading-induced bone loss must be further clarified. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether systemically inhibiting sympathetic nervous system (SNS) tone could prevent bone loss from mechanical-inactivity-induced osteopenia. Methods Female Wistar rats (12 weeks old) were randomly assigned to three groups: the SN group (n = 10), or single leg sciatic neurectomy group; the SNP group (n = 12), or single leg sciatic neurectomy + propranolol treatment (0.5 g/L in dietary water) group; and the CON group (n = 10), or single leg sham-operated group. Animals were fed with distilled water or propranolol in water, in accordance with their group design, for 30 days. Histomorphometry, geometry, tissue weight, and serum markers were assessed. Results Propranolol-treated animals drank significantly less water, but did not differ in daily chow consumption or body weight gain. In histomorphometric analysis, the spongy bone volume ratio in proximal tibiae was significantly lower in the two sciatic neurectomy groups, but there was no difference between the SN and SNP groups. Architecture analysis showed that the SN group had significantly thinner trabeculae and fewer trabeculae than the CON group (p<0.05), but there was no difference between the SNP and CON groups. There were no significant differences for tissue weight, geometric measurement, or serum markers assay. Conclusion It was observed that blockade of the SNS prevented neurectomy-induced bone resorption, as demonstrated by various histomorphometric data, although the difference between SN and SNP did not reach significance. In further work it would be valuable to study possible gender, age, and dose-dependent efficacy of propranolol on bone metabolism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine