To compare the effects of a neuropeptide Y1 receptor antagonist (NPY-1RA) to estrogen on maintaining vertebral bone microarchitecture and disc height in a rat model of menopause.
This study was an institutional animal care approved randomized control study with 104 ovariectomized rats and 32 intact control animals. Comparison of disc height, trabecular bone, body weights, circulating levels of NPY and estrogen, and distribution of Y1 receptors in the intervertebral disc in an established rodent osteoporotic model were made at baseline and after 2, 4, and 8 weeks after receiving either an implant containing estrogen or an antagonist to the neuropeptide Y1 receptor. Data was compared statistically using One-way analysis of variance.
Circulating levels of estrogen increased and NPY decreased following estrogen replacement, with values comparable to ovary-intact animals. NPY-1RA-treated animals had low estrogen and high NPY circulating levels and were similar to ovariectomized control rats. Both NPY-1RA and estrogen administration were able reduce, menopause associated weight gain. NPY-1RA appeared to restore bone formation and maintain disc height, while estrogen replacement prevented further bone loss.
NPY-1RA in osteoporotic rats activates osteoblast production of bone and decreased marrow and body fat more effectively than estrogen replacement when delivered in similar concentrations. Annulus cells had NPY receptors, which may play a role in disc nutrition, extracellular matrix production, and pain signaling cascades.