The effects of adult-onset alcoholism on cortical bone

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Moe, Atha Louise
Texas A&M University
nutrition.; Major nutrition.
thesis / dissertation description
Alcohol consumption is a growing problem in the United States, especially among our adult population. Alcohol has been shown to contribute significantly to osteoporosis and bone loss in later years in alcoholic men and women. Several studies have examined the effects of alcohol on the bones of actively growing rats. This is the first study to examine the effects of adult-onset chronic alcohol consumption in animals that commence drinking after they have stopped growing. This study also examined any recovery effects that bone may experience once the animals ceased drinking. Nine-month old female Sprague-Dawley rats (61) were allotted to three diet groups and studied for either 8 or 14 weeks. Groups of animals were fed an alcohol diet, pair-fed liquid control diet or rat pellet chow for either 8 or 14 weeks. An additional group of animals (alcohol cessation and pair-fed cessation) was fed the alcohol diet for 8 weeks with pair-fed partners receiving the liquid control diet. These animals were then put on the rat pellet chow for an additional 6 weeks. The only significant differences seen between the treatment groups, when examining the femur morphology measures, were in ash percentage. The alcohol cessation group was significantly higher than the 8-week alcohol-fed group. When considering mechanical properties such as stiffness and displacement at ultimate load, the alcohol cessation and 14-week alcohol-fed groups were both significantly different from the 8-week alcohol-fed group. This study demonstrates that alcohol consumption contributes to cortical bone loss, however, this loss is not completely recoverable upon abstinence.