Calcium and vitamin D enriched diets increase and preserve vertebral mineral content in aging laboratory rats

D. Schapira, S. Linn, M. Sarid, S. Mokadi, A. Kabala, M. Silbermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To assess the long-term effect of vitamin D or calcium supplementation on the skeletal metabolism of aging laboratory rodents, 1.5-month-old female Wistar rats were fed with diets containing twice the concentration of vitamin D (group 2) and of calcium (group 3) as in the usual rat chow. Follow-up to 24 months of age did not show significant differences between the enriched-diet groups and the controls (group 1) in terms of the vertebral body weight and protein content. Significantly higher bone mineral contents were found in groups 2 and 3 than were found in controls, as revealed by an increased bone mineral density (BMD: +62%, group 2; +48%, group 3) and vertebral calcium content (+73%, group 2; +84%, group 3). The vertebral alkaline phosphatase enzymatic activity was significantly lower in the enriched diet groups than in controls (-47%, group 2; -45%, group 3). The ratio alkaline phosphatase/acid phosphatase activity was markedly reduced in groups 2 and 3 (-57% and -59%, respectively), which might indicate a diminished rate of bone turnover. The trabecular bone volume (BV/TV) decreased in all groups during senescence, being significantly elevated in group 3 as compared to controls. Vitamin D and calcium dietary supplementations increase the axial mineral bone content in laboratory rats and might reduce the bone turnover. Their influence on the trabecular bone volume has yet to be examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-582
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1995
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment: This study was supported in part by Research Grant No. 180-108 from the Mars-Pittsburgh Foundation for Medical Research, Pittsburgh, USA.


  • Aging
  • Calcium
  • Osteopenia
  • Rat
  • Vertebrae
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology


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