Experimental traumatic brain injury induces bone loss in rats

Rhys D. Brady, Sandy R. Shultz, Mujun Sun, Tania Romano, Chris Van Der Poel, David K. Wright, John D. Wark, Terence J. O'Brien, Brian L. Grills, Stuart J. McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Few studies have investigated the influence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) on bone homeostasis; however, pathophysiological mechanisms involved in TBI have potential to be detrimental to bone. The current study assessed the effect of experimental TBI in rats on the quantity and quality of two different weight-bearing bones, the femur and humerus. Rats were randomly assigned into either sham or lateral fluid percussion injury (FPI) groups. Open-field testing to assess locomotion was conducted at 1, 4, and 12 weeks post-injury, with the rats killed at 1 and 12 weeks post-injury. Bones were analyzed using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT), histomorphometric analysis, and three-point bending. pQCT analysis revealed that at 1 and 12 weeks post-injury, the distal metaphyseal region of femora from FPI rats had reduced cortical content (10% decrease at 1 week, 8% decrease at 12 weeks; p < 0.01) and cortical thickness (10% decrease at 1 week, 11% decrease at 12 weeks p < 0.001). There was also a 23% reduction in trabecular bone volume ratio at 1 week post-injury and a 27% reduction at 12 weeks post-injury in FPI rats compared to sham (p < 0.001). There were no differences in bone quantity and mechanical properties of the femoral midshaft between sham and TBI animals. There were no differences in locomotor outcomes, which suggested that post-TBI changes in bone were not attributed to immobility. Taken together, these findings indicate that this rat model of TBI was detrimental to bone and suggests a link between TBI and altered bone remodeling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2154-2160
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • bone homeostasis
  • bone loss
  • femur
  • fluid percussion injury
  • traumatic brain injury

Cite this