Effect of methotrexate therapy on bone mineral density and body composition in rat adjuvant arthritis

Academic Article


  • Objective. To test whether methotrexate (MTX) therapy of rat adjuvant arthritis (AA) prevents loss of bone mineral density (BMD) and loss of adipose and lean body mass compared to pair-fed controls with untreated rat AA (positive controls) and rats without AA (negative controls). Methods. AA was induced by a Mycobacterium butyricum injection at the base of the tail of 5-week-old female Lewis rats. The MTX-treated group was injected with adjuvant and then treated twice weekly with MTX (1.0 mg/kg/wk intraperitoneally). To control for the effects of AA on appetite and weight, food given to control animals and MTX-treated rats with AA was limited to that consumed by rats with untreated AA. At 42 days post-adjuvant injection, the animals were sacrificed and tibial BMD was measured. Body composition was analyzed for percentage fat, protein, ash, and water. Results. There was no difference in ankle edema score or ankle width between the negative controls and MTX-treated group at necropsy. BMD was significantly higher in the negative controls versus positive controls and MTX-treated and in MTX-treated versus positive controls. There was significantly less body fat and protein and greater body water in the positive controls and MTX group compared to the negative controls. Conclusion. MTX prevents loss of BMD in the tibia in the rat AA model compared to positive controls. While MTX is effective in lowering inflammation in rat AA, there are still significant losses in BMD and body composition, which may have implications for rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Published In

    Author List

  • Morgan SL; Chen DT; Carlee J; Baggott JE
  • Start Page

  • 1693
  • End Page

  • 1697
  • Volume

  • 31
  • Issue

  • 9