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J Bone Miner Res., 2001; 16(4): 639-51, PMID: 11315991

1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D2 is less toxic but not bone selective relative to 1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D3 in ovariectomized rats

Year: 2001

Weber K, Goldberg M, Stangassinger M, Erben RG
Institute of Physiology, Physiological Chemistry and Animal Nutrition, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany.


Identification of bone selective vitamin D analogues would provide an interesting substance class for the treatment of osteoporosis. The synthetic prodrug 1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D2 [1alpha(OH)D2] has been shown to combine equal bone-preserving activity with distinctly reduced calcemic effects relative to 1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D3 [1alpha(OH)D3] in 3-month-old ovariectomized (OVX) rats. Therefore, 1alpha(OH)D2 may be a bone-selective compound. The aim of this study was to compare the bone protective and the calcemic activities of chronically administered 1alpha(OH)D2 and 1alpha(OH)D3 in 6-month-old OVX rats over a broad dose range from ineffective to toxic doses. Ninety-six female 6-month-old Fischer-344 rats were used for this experiment. Eighty rats were bilaterally OVX, 8 rats were sham-operated (SHAM), and 8 rats were killed at the time of surgery as a baseline control. Groups of OVX rats received vehicle alone (n = 16) or daily doses in the diet of 0.025, 0.05, 0.1, and 0.2 microg of 1alpha(OH)D2 or 1alpha(OH)D3 per kg body weight (BW) per day (n = 8 each). After calcein double-labeling, all animals were killed 3 months post-OVX. Orally administered 1alpha(OH)D2 was significantly less toxic compared with 1alpha(OH)D3 in terms of BW gain and kidney calcium content. The effects of 1alpha(OH)D2 and 1alpha(OH)D3 on serum calcium and urinary calcium excretion were generally similar at all doses in this study. Both 1alpha(OH)D2 and 1alpha(OH)D3 prevented the estrogen deficiency-induced bone loss in OVX rats, and induced profound bone anabolic effects at high dosages. 1alpha(OH)D3 and 1alpha(OH)D2 also dose-dependently increased total bone mineral density (BMD), cortical area, and cortical thickness in the tibial diaphysis of OVX rats. Bone resorption as assessed by osteoclast numbers (Oc.Ns) in vertebral cancellous bone and urinary excretion of deoxypyridinoline (DPD) was dose-dependently suppressed by 1alpha(OH)D2 and 1alpha(OH)D3. These data show that although 1alpha(OH)D2 was slightly but significantly less toxic compared with 1alpha(OH)D3, it did not have increased skeletal effects at any dose. Taken together, our findings argue against selective metabolic activation of 1alpha(OH)D2 in bone.

GID: 685; Last update: 10.01.2008