Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications vol:285 issue:1 pages:70-76
To examine the role of the estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha) during male skeletal development, bone density and structure of aged ERalphaKO mice and wild-type (WT) littermates were analyzed and skeletal changes in response to sex steroid deficiency and replacement were also studied. In comparison to WT, ERalphaKO mice had smaller and thinner bones, arguing for a direct role of ERalpha to obtain full skeletal size in male mice. However, male ERalphaKO mice had significantly more trabecular bone as assessed both by pQCT and histomorphometry, indicating that ERalpha is not essential to maintain cancellous bone mass. Six weeks following orchidectomy (ORX), both WT and ERalphaKO mice showed high-turnover osteoporosis as revealed by increases in serum osteocalcin and decreases in trabecular (-38% and -58% in WT and ERalphaKO, respectively) and cortical bone density (-5% and -4% in WT and ERalphaKO, respectively). Administration of testosterone propionate (T, 5 mg/kg/day) completely prevented bone loss both in ERalphaKO and in WT mice. As expected, estradiol (E2, 60 microg/kg/day) replacement did not prevent cancellous bone loss in ORX ERalphaKO mice. However, E2 stimulated bone formation at the endocortical surface in ORX ERalphaKO, suggesting that osteoblasts may respond to nonERalpha-mediated estrogen action. In conclusion, although functional ERalpha may play a significant role during male skeletal development, this receptor does not seem essential for androgen-mediated skeletal maintenance in older male mice.