Excessive growth hormone expression in male GH transgenic mice adversely alters bone architecture and mechanical strength

Lim, SV and Marenzana, M and Hopkinson, M and List, E and Kopchick, J and Pereira, M and Javaheri, B and Roux, J and Chavassieux, P and Korbonits, M and Chenu, C (2015) Excessive growth hormone expression in male GH transgenic mice adversely alters bone architecture and mechanical strength. Endocrinology, 156 (4). pp. 1362-1371.

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Abstract

Patients with acromegaly have a higher prevalence of vertebral fractures despite normal bone mineral density (BMD), suggesting that GH overexpression has adverse effects on skeletal architecture and strength. We used giant bovine GH (bGH) transgenic mice to analyze the effects of high serum GH levels on BMD, architecture, and mechanical strength. Five-month-old hemizygous male bGH mice were compared with age- and sex-matched nontransgenic littermates controls (NT; n=16/group). Bone architecture and BMD were analyzed in tibia and lumbar vertebrae using microcomputed tomography. Femora were tested to failure using three-point bending and bone cellular activity determined by bone histomorphometry. bGH transgenic mice displayed significant increases in body weight and bone lengths. bGH tibia showed decreases in trabecular bone volume fraction, thickness, and number compared with NT ones, whereas trabecular pattern factor and structure model index were significantly increased, indicating deterioration in bone structure. Although cortical tissue perimeter was increased in transgenic mice, cortical thickness was reduced. bGH mice showed similar trabecular BMD but reduced trabecular thickness in lumbar vertebra relative to controls. Cortical BMD and thickness were significantly reduced in bGH lumbar vertebra. Mechanical testing of femora confirmed that bGH femora have decreased intrinsic mechanical properties compared with NT ones. Bone turnover is increased in favor of bone resorption in bGH tibia and vertebra compared with controls, and serum PTH levels is also enhanced in bGH mice. These data collectively suggest that high serum GH levels negatively affect bone architecture and quality at multiple skeletal sites.