Osteoblastogenesis and osteolysis in the Zucker Diabetic Sprague Dawley rat humerus head

Gcwalisile Frances Dlamini, Robert Ndou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The endocrinology of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and its predisposing factors have been studied extensively while its skeletal effects have received negligible research despite this being a global disease. The cellular and molecular association between proximal humeral fractures and T2D has not been fully elucidated. We aimed to study bone cell quantities and immunolabel osteogenic and antiosteogenic cytokines. The study used 12-week-old rats (23 males) consisting of 8 Sprague Dawley (SD) and 15 Zucker Diabetic Sprague Dawley (ZDSD). Weekly mass measurements were taken while fasting blood glucose levels were recorded every 2 weeks with oral glucose tolerance tests conducted once every 4 weeks. Upon termination at the age of 28 weeks, humeri were fixed in 10% buffered formalin, prior to decalcification in ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid. The bone samples were then processed in ascending grades of alcohol using an automatic processor before embedding in paraffin wax. Sections were cut at 5 μm thickness in a series for Haematoxylin and Eosin stain, and immunohistochemistry was performed with the anti-tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP), anti-alkaline phosphatase (ALP), anti-bone morphogenetic protein 3 (BMP3), anti-transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1), anti-aged glycation end product (AGE) antibodies in the sequence. ZDSD rats had more adipocytes, BMP3 and AGEs expression with higher numbers of TRAP positive osteocytes and fewer ALP cells although no differences were found in TGFβ1 immunopositivity. We also found that T2D increases the number of AGEs immuno-positive cells, as well as its extracellular expression, thus providing a conducive environment for the interaction of the osteogenic cytokine and its antagonist to suppress osteoblastogenesis. ZDSD groups had higher adipocyte numbers therefore increased marrow adiposity in T2D.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-561
Number of pages10
JournalAnatomy and Cell Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Bone fractures
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Humerus
  • Osteoblasts
  • Osteocytes


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