Histochemical examination of the effects of high-dose 1,25(OH)2D3 on bone remodeling in young growing rats

Vitamin D has an anabolic effect on bone developmental processes and is involved in maintaining skeletal integrity. In recent years, pediatric cases of vitamin D intoxication have attracted attention. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the influence of long-term administration of physiologically-high-dose calcitriol (1,25(OH)2D3) on bone remodeling in young developing rats. Neonatal rats received once-daily subcutaneous injection of calcitriol (250 ng/kg body weight), or PBS only as a control, for 3 weeks. At 1, 2 and 4 weeks' post-administration, rats were sacrificed and fixed by transcardial perfusion with 4 % paraformaldehyde, following which tibiae were extracted for histochemical analysis. Compared with the control group, the number of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase- and Cathepsin K-positive osteoclasts were significantly increased, and the expression of alkaline phosphatase in osteoblasts was decreased in trabecular bone of rats administered high-dose 1,25(OH)2D3, leading to decreased trabecular bone volume. In addition, the expression of receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL) was increased, while that of osteoprotegerin was weaker in osteoblasts in the experimental group compared with the control group. Moreover, there was weaker immunoreactivity for EphrinB2 in osteoclasts and EphB4 in osteoblasts of trabecular bone in the experimental group compared with the control group. These findings suggest that long-term use of physiologically-high dose calcitriol may result in bone loss through RANKL/RANK/osteoprotegerin and EphrinB2-EphB4 signaling pathways, and that these negative effects could continue after drug withdrawal. Therefore, optimal limits for vitamin D administration need to be established for children and adolescents.

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