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Effects of dexamethasone, celecoxib, and methotrexate on the histology and metabolism of bone tissue in healthy Sprague Dawley rats

Authors Liu Y, Cui Y, Chen Y, Gao X, Su Y, Cui L

Received 21 March 2015

Accepted for publication 12 May 2015

Published 5 August 2015 Volume 2015:10 Pages 1245—1253

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S85225

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Wu


Yanzhi Liu,1,2,* Yang Cui,3,* Yan Chen,1 Xiang Gao,4 Yanjie Su,1 Liao Cui1,2

1Department of Pharmacology, Guangdong Key Laboratory for Research and Development of Natural Drugs, Guangdong Medical University, Zhanjiang, Guangdong, 2School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, 3Department of Rheumatism Medicine, Guangdong General Hospital, Guangzhou, 4Stem Cell Research and Cellular Therapy Center, Affiliated Hospital of Guangdong Medical University, Zhanjiang, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work


Objective: To investigate the long-term effects of three antiarthritics, namely dexamethasone, celecoxib, and methotrexate on the histology and metabolism of intact bone tissue in rats.
Methods: Thirty-two 12-week-old healthy female Sprague Dawley rats were randomly allocated into four groups: 1) control (saline, daily); 2) dexamethasone (2 mg/kg, twice weekly); 3) celecoxib (50 mg/kg, daily); and 4) methotrexate (0.5 mg/kg, twice weekly). The drugs were administered to the rats for 12 weeks and the animals were weighed on a weekly basis. The femurs and lumbar vertebrae were harvested for bone mineral density and bone mechanical properties analyses. The proximal tibiae were processed for bone histomorphometry and micro-computed tomography analyses.
Results: The following results were obtained: 1) dexamethasone strongly inhibited bone formation rate accompanied with a decrease in bone mineral density and bone biomechanical properties; 2) celecoxib stimulated bone resorption, leading to a decrease of bone mass and femur biomechanic properties; and 3) methotrexate caused bone loss and bone quality deterioration to a lesser extent due to the increase of the bone turnover rate on the proximal tibial metaphysis of the rats.
Conclusion: This study provides a comparative profile of the long-term effects of clinical doses of celecoxib, methotrexate, and dexamethasone on intact skeletons of the rats. The results indicate that the three antiarthritics have varying degrees of side effects on bone metabolism, and these findings will help physicians to learn more about the potential effects of antiarthritics on bone metabolism.

Keywords: rheumatoid arthritis, celecoxib, methotrexate, dexamethasone, bone

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