The raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) is a promising animal model capable of preventing disuse-induced osteoporosis. Previous data suggest that this species resembles bears in the preservation of bone mass and biomechanical properties during prolonged passivity and catabolism. This longitudinal study examined the osteological properties of tibiae in farm-bred raccoon dogs that were either fed or fasted (n=6/group) for a 10-week period. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography was utilized and plasma markers of bone turnover measured before fasting and at 9 weeks followed by mechanical testing (three-point bending), micro-computed tomography and Fourier transform infrared imaging at 10 weeks. Passive wintering with prolonged catabolism (body mass loss 32%) had no significant effects on bone mineralization, porosity or strength. The concentration of C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen, indicative of bone resorption, increased in the plasma of the fasted raccoon dogs, while the bone formation markers were unchanged. The levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D reduced in the fasted animals. Based on these data, the preservation of bone in wintering raccoon dogs shares characteristics of bears with no apparent decrease in the formation of bone but increased resorption. To conclude, raccoon dogs were able to minimize bone loss during a 10-week period of catabolism and passivity.
- Received November 30, 2015.
- Accepted March 27, 2017.
- © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd