Ethanol and its effects on fracture healing and bone mass in male rats

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Operatively induced, standardized tibia fractures in 42 10-week-old male rats were fixed with intramedullary nails. 21 of the rats were fed liquid containing 15% ethanol. 5 weeks after inducing the fracture, the rats were killed and the total body bone mineral density (BMD) was analyzed with the DEXA technique, and the mechanical properties of the fractured and the unfractured tibiae as well as the ipsi- and contralateral femoral shaft and femoral neck were tested. The rats given a liquid containing 15% ethanol were found to have significantly lower total BMD and total calcium than the controls. We also found a significantly lower bending moment and bending stiffness both in the fractured and unfractured tibiae among rats fed on ethanol. The energy absorption until refracture was less in rats fed on ethanol. Posttraumatic osteopenia was present, as judged by the mechanical tests of the ipsilateral femoral shaft and the femoral neck in all animals. There was no difference in this respect between the animals fed on ethanol and the controls. We found that ethanol disturbs bone metabolism which reduces the mechanical properties of the tibiae and femora of rats, but the healing process of an induced tibial shaft fracture was not affected.


  • Fredrik Nyquist
  • V Halvorsen
  • J E Madsen
  • L Nordsletten
  • Karl Obrant
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Orthopedics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-216
JournalActa Orthopaedica Scandinavica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Publication categoryResearch