Comparison of skeletal effects of ovariectomy versus chemically induced ovarian failure in mice

Laura E. Wright, Patricia J. Christian, Zelieann Rivera, William G. Van Alstine, Janet L. Funk, Mary L. Bouxsein, Patricia B. Hoyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Bone loss associated with menopause leads to an increase in skeletal fragility and fracture risk. Relevant animal models can be useful for evaluating the impact of ovarian failure on bone loss. A chemically induced model of menopause in which mice gradually undergo ovarian failure yet retain residual ovarian tissue has been developed using the chemical 4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide (VCD). This study was designed to compare skeletal effects of VCD-induced ovarian failure to those associated with ovariectomy (OVX). Young (28 day) C57BL/6Hsd female mice were dosed daily with vehicle or VCD (160 mg/kg/d, IP) for 15 days (n = 6-7/group) and monitored by vaginal cytology for ovarian failure. At the mean age of VCD-induced ovarian failure (∼6 wk after onset of dosing), a different group of mice was ovariectomized (OVX, n = 8). Spine BMD (SpBMD) was measured by DXA for 3 mo after ovarian failure and OVX. Mice were killed ∼5 mo after ovarian failure or OVX, and bone architecture was evaluated by μCT ex vivo. In OVX mice, SpBMD was lower than controls 1 mo after OVX, whereas in VCD-treated mice, SpBMD was not lower than controls until 2.9 mo after ovarian failure (p < 0.05). Both VCD-induced ovarian failure and OVX led to pronounced deterioration of trabecular bone architecture, with slightly greater effects in OVX mice. At the femoral diaphysis, cortical bone area and thickness did not differ between VCD mice and controls but were decreased in OVX compared with both groups (p < 0.05). Circulating androstenedione levels were preserved in VCD-treated mice but reduced in OVX mice relative to controls (p < 0.001). These findings support that (1) VCD-induced ovarian failure leads to trabecular bone deterioration, (2) bone loss is attenuated by residual ovarian tissue, particularly in diaphyseal cortical bone, and (3) the VCD mouse model can be a relevant model for natural menopause in the study of associated bone disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1296-1303
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • BMD
  • Menopause
  • Microarchitecture
  • Murine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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