Experimental arthritis: effect on growth parameters and total skeletal calcium

del Pozo, E.; Zapf, J.; Mackenzie, A. R.; Janner, M.; Perrelet, R.; Lippuner, K.; Mullis, P. (2009). Experimental arthritis: effect on growth parameters and total skeletal calcium. Growth hormone & IGF research, 19(5), pp. 442-446. Oxford: Elsevier 10.1016/j.ghir.2009.01.003

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Aim of the study was to investigate the possible mechanisms leading to stunted growth and osteoporosis in experimental arthritis. Fourty-two female rats of 7-8 weeks of age were randomly assigned to three groups of 14 animals each: (a) controls; (b) adjuvant-inoculated (AA); and (c) adjuvant-inoculated rats receiving 10 mg cyclosporin A (CsA) orally for 30 days. Biological parameters studied were: hindpaw swelling; vertebral length progression expressed as Delta increments between days 1 and 30 as a parameter of skeletal growth, and estimation of total skeletal mineral content by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (n=10 each group) on day 30. Endocrine parameters measured were pulsatile release of growth hormone (rGH) on day 30 following jugular cannulation and measurement of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in pooled plasma from rGH profiles. Results can be summarized as follows: Untreated AA rats exhibited local signs of inflammation in comparison with controls (hindpaw diameter 8.1-8.9 mm vs. 5.3-5.6 mm in controls). Treatment with CsA normalized this parameter (4.9-5.6 mm). Vertebral growth was significantly retarded in AA rats in comparison with controls (214+/-32 vs. 473+/-33 microm; p<0.001). Administration of CsA normalized vertebral size increment with a clear tendency to overgrowth (523+/-43 microm, n.s.). There was also a marked reduction in total skeletal mineral content in diseased (AA) rats as compared to controls (5.8+/-0.1 vs. 7.5+/-0.1g [OH-apatite]; p<0.001), and a moderate but significant increment above controls in the group receiving CsA (8.0+/-0.1 vs. 7.5+/-0.1g [OH-appatite]; p<0.04). Integrated rGH profiles exhibited a significant fall in arthritic rats and were completely restored to normal under CsA treatment. A trend toward higher rGH values was observed in the latter group (2908+/-554 in AA vs. 8317+/-1492 ng/ml/240 min in controls; p<0.001, and 10940+/-222 ng/ml/240 min, n.s. in the CsA group). There was a good correlation between skeletal growth and rGH pulsatility (r=0.81; p<0.001). IGF-1 followed a similar pattern (630+/-44 in AA vs. 752+/-30 ng/ml in controls; p<0.04, and 769+/-59 ng/ml in the CsA group, n.s. vs. controls). Thus, a clear tendency to skeletal overgrowth following treatment was observed in agreement with the hormonal data. It can therefore be concluded that, in experimental arthritis, attenuated GH-spiking and reduced circulating IGF-1 appear to be causally related to growth retardation, probably mimicking signs and symptoms observed in juvenile arthritis. Therapy with CsA is followed by normalization of hormonal and biological parameters accompanied by a catch up phenomenon in skeletal growth which is also observed clinically in juvenile arthritis. Generalized osteopenia is a prominent feature seemingly connected with the growth abnormalities as they parallel each other during the evolution of the disease and respond equally to therapy.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Orthopaedic, Plastic and Hand Surgery (DOPH) > Clinic of Osteoporosis
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Janner, Marco; Lippuner, Kurt and Mullis, Primus-Eugen


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health










Anette van Dorland

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:03

Last Modified:

20 Jul 2022 10:02

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:





https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/27218 (FactScience: 105061)

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