Goats as an osteopenic animal model

K. S. LEUNG, W. S. SIU, N. M. CHEUNG, P. Y. LUI, Hung Kay Daniel CHOW, A. JAMES, L. QIN

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A large osteopenic animal model that resembles human osteoporotic changes is essential for osteoporosis research. This study aimed at establishing a large osteopenic animal model in goats. Twenty-five Chinese mountain goats were used in which they were either ovariectomized (OVX) and fed with a low-calcium diet (n = 16) or sham-operated (SHAM; n = 9). Monthly photodensitometric analysis on proximal tibial metaphysis and calcaneus was performed. Two iliac crest biopsy specimens obtained before and 6 months after OVX were used for bone mineral density (BMD) measurement with peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). Lumbar vertebrae (L2 and L7), humeral heads, and calcanei were collected for BMD measurement after euthanasia. The humeral heads and calcanei were used in biomechanical indentation test. BMD measurement showed a significant 25.0% (p = 0.006) decrease in BMD of the iliac crest biopsy specimens 6 months after OVX. It also was statistically significant when compared with the SHAM (p = 0.028). BMD at L2, L7, calcaneus, and humeral head reduced by 24-33% (p ranged from 0.001 to 0.011) when compared with the SHAM. Photodensitometry showed a continuous decrease in bone density after OVX. There were significant decreases of 18.9% in proximal tibial metaphysis (p = 0.003) and 21.8% in calcaneus (p = 0.023) in the OVX group 6 months postoperatively. Indentation test on the humeral head and calcaneus showed a significant decrease 52% (p = 0.006) and 54% (p = 0.001), respectively, in energy required for displacement of 3 mm in the OVX group compared with the SHAM group. The decreases correlated significantly to the decrease in BMD of the corresponding specimens (r2 = 0.439 and 0.581; p < 0.001 for both). In conclusion, this study showed that OVX plus a low-calcium diet could induce significant osteopenia and deterioration of mechanical properties of the cancellous bone in goats. Copyright © 2001 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2348-2355
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001


Leung, K. S., Siu, W. S., Cheung, N. M., Lui, P. Y., Chow, D. H. K., James, A., & Qin, L. (2001).Goats as an osteopenic animal model. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 16(12), 2348-2355. doi: 10.1359/jbmr.2001.16.12.2348


  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteopenia
  • Goat
  • Bone mineral density
  • Biomechanical test


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