Effects of alfacalcidol on muscle strength, muscle fatigue, and bone mineral density in normal and ovariectomized rats
Vitamin D affects not only bone but also muscle to prevent falls and osteoporotic fractures. However, these effects on muscle and the mechanisms of fall prevention are still unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of alfacalcidol [1α(OH)D 3 ] on muscle strength, muscle fatigue, and bone mineral density (BMD) in ovariectomized rats. Seven-month-old female Wistar rats were orally administered 1α(OH)D 3 or its vehicle everyday for 4 weeks after ovariectomy (OVX) or sham
... omy (OVX) or sham operation. Calf muscle strength and fatigue were evaluated by electrical stimulation of the sciatic nerve under general anesthesia. 1α(OH)D 3 administration significantly increased the maximum muscle strength in the sham-operated (P < 0.01) and the OVX (P < 0.01) groups compared to their respective control groups. However, 1α(OH)D 3 administration did not significantly affect muscle fatigue in these groups. The BMD of the femur in the 1α(OH)D 3 -treated OVX group was significantly higher than that in the vehicle-treated OVX group (P = 0.04). These results suggested that 1α(OH)D 3 increases muscle strength but does not affect muscle fatigue in this rat model. The effectiveness of activated vitamin D in preventing bone fractures may be partly owing to its effect on muscle strength in addition to its known effect on bone metabolism.