With rising rates of alcohol consumption acute and chronic damage from alcohol is expected to increase all over the world. Habitual excessive alcohol consumption is associated with pathological effects on bone. The aim of the present in vitro study was to investigate comparatively the proliferation and synthetic activity of osteoblasts (OB) isolated from the trabecular bone of rats previously exposed to 7-week intermittent exposure to ethanol vapor, sham-aged rats and long-term estrogen deficient rats. Cell proliferation (WST1) and synthesis of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), osteocalcin (OC), collagen I (CICP), transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-β1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alfa (TNFα) were measured at 3, 7 and 14 days of culture. Osteoblast proliferation rate and TGF-β1, IL-6 and TNFα syntheses were significantly affected by alcohol exposure. Estrogen deficiency and alcohol consumption share many common pathophysiological mechanisms of damage to bone, but alcohol affects OB proliferation and TNFα synthesis significantly more than menopause does. Therefore, these in vitro data suggest that alcohol has even more deleterious effects on bone than estrogen deficiency does.
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