Low energy availability reduces bone mass and gonadal function in male mice

Eri Ito, Yuiko Sato, Tami Kobayashi, Tomoya Soma, Tatsuaki Matsumoto, Atushi Kimura, Kana Miyamoto, Hideo Matsumoto, Morio Matsumoto, Masaya Nakamura, Kazuki Sato, Takeshi Miyamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction: In women, the female athlete triad, marked by low energy availability, functional hypothalamic amenorrhea and osteoporosis, is a recognized risk for stress fractures. Stress injuries also occur in men, but by contrast risks and mechanisms underlying them are less characterized. Materials and methods: 5 week-old wild-type male mice were fed ad libitum (ad) or subjected to 60% food restriction (FR) for five weeks. In both groups, some mice were allowed access to an exercise wheel in cages to allow voluntary wheel running (ex) and/or treated with active vitamin D analogues. Mice were sacrificed and analyzed at 10 weeks of age. Result: Male FR mice exhibited significantly reduced testicle weight, serum testosterone levels and bone mass. Such bone losses in FR male mice were enhanced by exercise. Histological analysis revealed that both bone-resorbing and -forming activities were significantly reduced in FR or FR plus exercise (FR + ex) mice, mimicking a state of low bone turnover. Significantly reduced bone mass in FR or FR + ex male mice was significantly rescued by treatment with active vitamin D analogues, with significant restoration of osteoblastic activities. Serum levels of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), which is critical for bone remodeling, were significantly lower in FR versus control male mice. Conclusions: Low energy availability puts men at risk for stress injuries as well, and low energy availability is upstream of gonadal dysfunction and osteoporosis in males. Active vitamin D analogues could serve as therapeutic or preventive options for stress injuries in men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-192
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Mar


  • Food restriction
  • Male athletes
  • Stress fractures
  • Testicle
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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