Study Title:

The TSH Signal is Required for Osteoblast-Driven Bone Building

Study Abstract

We show the systemic administration of low levels of TSH increases bone volume and improves bone microarchitecture and strength in aged OVX rats. TSH's actions are mediated by its inhibitory effects on RANKL-induced osteoclast formation and bone resorption coupled with stimulatory effects on osteoblast differentiation and bone formation, suggesting TSH directly affects bone remodeling in vivo.

INTRODUCTION: Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptor haploinsufficient mice with normal circulating thyroid hormone levels have reduced bone mass, suggesting that TSH directly affects bone remodeling. We examined whether systemic TSH administration restored bone volume in aged ovariectomized (OVX) rats and influenced osteoclast formation and osteoblast differentiation in vitro.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Sprague-Dawley rats were OVX at 6 months, and TSH therapy was started immediately after surgery (prevention mode; n = 80) or 7 mo later (restoration mode; n = 152). Hind limbs and lumbar spine BMD was measured at 2- or 4-wk intervals in vivo and ex vivo on termination at 8-16 wk. Long bones were subjected to microCT, histomorphometric, and biomechanical analyses. The direct effect of TSH was examined in osteoclast and osteoblast progenitor cultures and established rat osteosarcoma-derived osteoblastic cells. Data were analyzed by ANOVA Dunnett test. RESULTS: In the prevention mode, low doses (0.1 and 0.3 microg) of native rat TSH prevented the progressive bone loss, and importantly, did not increase serum triiodothyroxine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) levels in aged OVX rats. In restoration mode, animals receiving 0.1 and 0.3 microg TSH had increased BMD (10-11%), trabecular bone volume (100-130%), trabecular number (25-40%), trabecular thickness (45-60%), cortical thickness (5-16%), mineral apposition and bone formation rate (200-300%), and enhanced mechanical strength of the femur (51-60%) compared with control OVX rats. In vitro studies suggest that TSH's action is mediated by its inhibitory effects on RANKL-induced osteoclast formation, as shown in hematopoietic stem cells cultivated from TSH-treated OVX rats. TSH also stimulates osteoblast differentiation, as shown by effects on alkaline phosphatase activity, osteocalcin expression, and mineralization rate.

CONCLUSIONS: These results show for the first time that systemically administered TSH prevents bone loss and restores bone mass in aged OVX rats through both antiresorptive and anabolic effects on bone remodeling.

Study Information

Sampath TK, Simic P, Sendak R, Draca N, Bowe AE, O'Brien S, Schiavi SC, McPherson JM, Vukicevic S.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone restores bone volume, microarchitecture, and strength in aged ovariectomized rats.
J Bone Miner Res.
2007 June
Genzyme Corporation, Framingham, Massachusetts 01701-9322, USA.

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