Restrain of bone growth by Estrogen-Mimetic Peptide-1 (EMP-1): A micro-computed tomographic study

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Estrogen has a key role in the regulation of skeletal growth and maintenance of bone mass. Recently, we developed peptides having estrogen-like activity as potential estrogen-based new drugs. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the influence of long-term administration of the most efficacious of these peptides, the hexapeptide EMP-1 (VSWFFE), on bone mass and development. EMP-1 was injected daily to ovariectomized (OVX) and intact young, sexually mature female mice for 10 weeks. Whole femora, including the cartilaginous growth plates were analyzed by micro-computed tomography (μCT). We found that peptide EMP-1 restrains bone growth in OVX mice: it inhibited dramatically bone longitudinal growth (40%), and decreased femoral diaphyseal diameter. Peptide EMP-1 had no effect on bone growth in normal mice, and did not influence the OVX-induced bone loss. We then developed a new μCT methodology to evaluate uncalcified and calcified growth plate parameters. In the OVX mice, peptide EMP-1 reduced volume and thickness of the uncalcified growth plate, a possible cause for the inhibition of bone longitudinal growth. Peptide EMP-1 may be used as a lead compound for the development of drugs to treat acromegalic patients.

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