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Estimating changes in the mechanical properties of the femur in the adult and aged rat due to adult-onset alcohol consumption
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Numerous studies have shown that alcohol has a disturbing effect on the mechanical properties of the skeleton. To determine whether alcohol has a deleterious effect on the adult skeleton, fifty-four, nine-month old, female Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into three sets containing three diet groups. At eight weeks and again at fourteen weeks, the rats were sacrificed and the femurs were removed for mechanical testing. To calculate cortical bone properties, the diaphyses of the femurs were tested in three-point bending. The distal femurs were cut and tested using a reduced-platen compression (RPC) test to measure mechanical properties of the cancellous bone tissue. Only minimal effects were found for the 8-week study in the cortical bone of all treatment groups. However, after 14 weeks the cancellous bone in the alcohol animals showed signs of osteopenia. For cortical bone, the yield stress in the 14-week alcohol animals was significantly lower than the 8-week alcohol animals, but most other parameters only showed trends of bone deterioration and reductions were not statistically significant. It can be concluded from this study that, depending on the duration, chronic adult-onset alcohol consumption leads to a reduction in cancellous bone properties. In addition to the adult cessation study, an aged study was conducted to determine the effects of alcohol on the aged skeleton. Testing proceeded similar to the adult cessation study. Significant differences were found in the ultimate stress as well as the energy/vol. to max force of the cancellous bone. Ultimate stress in the alcohol animals was significantly lower than both the pair-fed and the control group, while the energy/vol. to max force was significantly higher in the control group when compared to the alcohol and pair-fed groups. Based on the results of this experiment, late-onset alcohol consumption has a deleterious effect on cancellous bone properties. In addition, the combined effects of alcohol abuse and a restricted caloric intake may lead to a reduction in the quality of both cortical and cancellous bone. The duration of alcohol consumption and caloric restriction may also contribute to a decrease in bone properties, but that cannot be concluded from this study.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 79-85).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Nguyen, Lyndon Phuoc (2001). Estimating changes in the mechanical properties of the femur in the adult and aged rat due to adult-onset alcohol consumption. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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