The Effects of Acute Binge Alcohol Consumption on the Trabecular Morphometry and Tensile Strength of Adolescent Sprague Dawley Rat Femora

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Ndabenzinhle Ronald Mngoma; Akaashni Bhika & Diana Pillay


Excessive alcohol consumption adversely affects bone metabolism, thus resulting in reduced bone length, density, and strength. Moreover, these deficits in bone density and strength are likely to increase the risk of fragility fractures and the early onset of osteoporosis. While excessive alcohol consumption is an established risk factor for osteoporotic fractures, there remains a dearth of information in literature about bone effects of binge alcohol consumption in adolescents. Therefore, our study aimed to examine the effects of acute binge alcohol consumption on the adolescent bone micro-architecture and tensile strength. Twelve male Sprague Dawley rats aged 7 weeks were randomly placed in 2 groups: alcohol (n =6), receiving alcohol (3g/kg) and pair-fed control (n = 6), receiving an isocaloric equivalent of maltose dextrin via oral gavage for 3 days in one week (on alternative days). The femora were dissected and scanned using a Micro-Focus X-ray Computed Tomography (3D-μCT). Following reconstruction, trabecular morphometry was assessed in both the proximal and distal epiphysis, using a Volume Graphics Studio® software. A three-point bending test was employed to examine the effect of alcohol on the tensile strength of the bone. Results showed trabeculae parameters to be affected in the distal epiphysis of the femur, while in the proximal epiphysis it remained unaffected. Tensile strength parameters were also not affected by the consumption of alcohol. These findings may suggest that acute binge alcohol consumption has detrimental effects on the bone micro-architecture specific to the distal epiphysis.

KEY WORDS: Adolescent; Acute binge; Alcohol; Trabeculae; Femur.

How to cite this article

MNGOMA, N. R.; BHIKA, A. & PILLAY, D. The effects of acute binge alcohol consumption on the trabecular morphometry and tensile strength of adolescent Sprague Dawley rat femora. Int. J. Morphol., 42(2):452-457, 2024.