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Zinc as a nutritional approach to bone loss prevention in an ovariectomized rat model

Bhardwaj, Payal MSc; Rai, Durg Vijay MTech, PhD; Garg, Mohan Lal PhD

doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e31828a7f4e
Original Study

Objective In this study, we have investigated the role of zinc supplementation (a nutritional antioxidant) in an ovariectomized osteopenic rat model.

Methods Forty-eight female Wistar rats were assigned to four groups: control, zinc, ovariectomy (OVX), and OVX + zinc. Analysis was performed to compare the study groups on bone metabolism markers, bone antioxidant enzymes, and zinc and copper levels in serum and bone tissues. Electron microscopy was also performed to assess morphological changes.

Results Estradiol levels decreased and tartarate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b levels increased in the OVX group. In the OVX + zinc group, these levels were regulated; however, estradiol levels were still significantly lower than those in controls. The OVX group showed significantly higher urinary excretion of hydroxyproline, which recovered upon zinc supplementation but was higher than normal levels. The activities of catalase and superoxide dismutase decreased in ovariectomized animals and up-regulated upon zinc supplementation. Zinc supplementation in the OVX group revoked reduced glutathione levels and elevated malondialdehyde levels. Reduction in zinc and copper levels was observed in the bone tissues and serum of the OVX group. Zinc administration restored these levels to normal. Electron microscopic studies revealed a looser structure and resorbed areas in ovariectomized rat cortical bone. Zinc administration restored bone tissue morphology.

Conclusions These findings suggest that changes in cortical bone attributed to estrogen deficiency are arrested by zinc supplementation, which can be a sustainable approach to improving bone health.

From the 1Department of Biophysics, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India; and 2Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, Shobhit University, Meerut, India.

Received October 29, 2012; revised and accepted January 29, 2013.

Funding/support: This study was supported by a grant to Panjab University from the Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, under the Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence. The Indian Council of Medical Research provided financial assistance in the form of senior research fellowship (no. 3/1/2/4/10-RHN to P.B.).

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Payal Bhardwaj, MSc, Department of Biophysics, Panjab University, Basic Medical Sciences Block, Chandigarh 160014, India. E-mail:

© 2013 by The North American Menopause Society.