Acta Academiae Medicinae Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (1): 11-20.

• Original Articles •

Different Types of Low-frequency Electromagnetic Fields Resist Bone Loss Caused by Weightlessness

LI Wenyuan,TIAN Yonghui,GAO Yuhai,ZHU Baoying,XI Huirong,CHEN Keming()

1. Institute of Orthopaedics,the 940th Hospital of Joint Logistic Support Force of Chinese People’s Liberation Army,Lanzhou 730050,China
• Received:2018-04-16 Online:2019-02-28 Published:2019-03-06
• Contact: Keming CHEN E-mail:chkeming@lut.cn
• Supported by:
Supported by the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China(81270963);the National International Science and Technology Cooperation Project(2015DFR30940)

Abstract:

Objective To compare the effects of 50-Hz 0.6-mT low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields(PEMFs) and 50-Hz 1.8-mT sinusoidal alternating electromagnetic fields(SEMFs) in preventing bone loss in tail-suspended rats,with an attempt to improve the prevention and treatment of bone loss caused by weightlessness.Methods Tail-suspension rat models were used to simulate microgravity on the ground. Forty rats were randomly divided into four groups[control group,hindlimb-suspended(HLS) group,HLS+PEMFs group,and HLS+SEMFs group],with 10 rats in each group. In the PEMFs treatment group and SEMFs treatment group,the intervention was 90 min per day. Rats were sacrificed after four weeks. Bone mineral density(BMD) of femur and vertebra was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and biomechanical strength by AG-IS biomechanical instrument. Serum osteocalcin(OC),tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b(Tracp 5b),parathyroid hormone(PTH),and cyclic adenosine monophosphate(cAMP) were detected by ELISA. The microstructure of bone tissue was observed by Micro-CT and HE staining.Results The BMD of the femur(P=0.000) and vertebrae(P=0.001) in the HLS group was significantly lower than in the control group;the BMD of the femurs(P=0.001) and vertebrae(P=0.039) in the HLS+PEMFs group was significantly higher than in the HLS group;the BMD of the femurs in the HLS+SEMFs group was significantly higher than in the HLS group(P=0.003),but the BMD of the vertebrae showed no significant difference(P=0.130). There was no significant difference in the BMD of the femur(P=0.818) and vertebrae(P=0.614) between the HLS+PEMFs group and the HLS+SEMFs group. The maximum load(P=0.000,P=0.009) and elastic modulus(P=0.015,P=0.009) of the femurs and vertebrae in the HLS group were significantly lower than those in the control group;the maximum load of the femur(P=0.038) and vertebrae(P=0.087) in the HLS+PEMFs group was significantly higher than that in the HLS group,but the elastic modulus was not significantly different from that in the HLS group(P=0.324,P=0.091). The maximum load(P=0.190,P=0.222) and elastic modulus(P=0.512,P=0.437) of femurs and vertebrae in the HLS+SEMFs group were not significantly different from those in the HLS group. There were no significant differences in the maximum load and elastic modulus of femurs(P=0.585,P=0.948) and vertebrae(P=0.668,P=0.349) between the HLS+PEMFs group and the HLS+SEMFs group. The serum OC level in the HLS group was significantly lower than that in the control group(P=0.000),and the OC level in HLS+PEMFs group(P=0.000) and HLS+SEMFs group(P=0.006) were significantly higher than that in the HLS group. The serum Tracp 5b concentration in the HLS group was significantly higher than that in the control group(P=0.011). There was no significant difference between the HLS+PEMFs group(P=0.459) and the HLS+SEMFs group(P=0.469) compared with the control group.Serum Tracp 5b concentrations in the HLS+PEMFs group(P=0.056) and the HLS+SEMFs group(P=0.054) were not significantly different from those in the HLS group. The PTH(P=0.000) and cAMP concentrations(P=0.000) in the HLS group were significantly lower than those in the control group. The PTH(P=0.000,P=0.000) and cAMP concentrations(P=0.000,P=0.000) in the HLS+PEMFs group and the HLS+SEMFs group were significantly higher than in the HLS group. The femoral cancellous bone of the HLS group was very sparse and small compared with the control group. The density and volume of the cancellous bone were similar among the control group,HLS+PEMFs group,and HLS+SEMFs group. Compared with the control group,the HLS group had lower BMD(P=0.000),bone volume (BV)/tissue volume(TV)(P=0.000),number of trabecular bone (Tb.N)(P=0.000),and trabecular thickness(Tb.Th)(P=0.000) and higher trabecular bone dispersion(Tb.Sp)(P=0.000) and bone surface area(BS)/BV(P=0.000). Compared with the HLS group,the HLS+PEMFs group and the HLS+SEMFs group had significantly lower Tb.Sp(P=0.000,P=0.000) and BS/BV(P=0.000,P=0.000) and significantly increased BMD(P=0.000,P=0.000),BV/TV(P=0.001,P=0.004),Tb.Th(P=0.000,P=0.001),and Tb.N(P=0.000,P=0.001). The trabecular thickness significantly differed between the HLS+PEMFs group and the HLS+SEMFs group(P=0.024). The HLS group(P=0.000),HLS+PEMFs group(P=0.000),and HLS+SEMFs group(P=0.000) had the significantly lower osteoblast density on the trabecular bone surface than the control group;however,it was significantly higher in the HLS+SEMFs group(P=0.000) and the HLS+PEMFs group(P=0.000) than in the HLS group. The HLS group had significantly lower density of osteoblasts in the endothelium than the control group(P=0.000);however,the density of osteoblasts was significantly higher in HLS+PEMFs group(P=0.000) and HLS+SEMFs group(P=0.000) than HLS group and was significantly higher in HLS+PEMFs group than in HLS+SEMFs group(P=0.041). Compared with the control group,a large number of fatty cavities were produced in the bone marrow cavity in the HLS group,but the fat globules remarkably decreased in the treatment groups,showing no significant difference from the control group. The number of adipose cells per mm 2 bone marrow in the HLS group was 4 times that of the control group(P=0.000);it was significantly smaller in the HLS+PEMFs group(P=0.000) and HLS+SEMFs group(P=0.000) than in the HLS group,whereas the difference between the HLS+PEMFs group and the HLS+SEMFs group was not statistically significant(P=0.086). Conclusions 50-Hz 0.6-mT PEMFs and 50-Hz 1.8-mT SEMFs can effectively increase bone mineral density and biomechanical values in tail-suspended rats,increase the concentration of bone formation markers in rat blood,activate the cAMP pathway by affecting PTH levels,and thus further increase the content of osteoblasts to prevent the deterioration of bone micro-structure. In particular,PEMFs can prevent the reduction of bone mineral density and maximum load value by about 50% and increase the bone mass of tail-suspended rats by promoting bone formation.

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