Radiation therapy and estrogen deficiency can damage healthy bone and lead to an increased fracture risk. The goal of this study is to develop a mouse model for radiation therapy using a fractionated biologically equivalent dose for cervical cancer treatment in both pre- and postmenopausal women. Thirty-two female C57BL/6 mice 13 weeks of age were divided into four groups: Sham + non-irradiated (SHAM + NR), Sham + irradiated (SHAM + IRR), ovariectomy + non-irradiated (OVX + NR) and ovariectomy + irradiated (OVX + IRR). The irradiated mice received a 6 Gy dose of X-rays to the hindlimbs at Day 2, Day 4 and Day 7 (18 Gy total). Tissues were collected at Day 35. DEXA, microCT analysis and FEA were used to quantify structural and functional changes at the proximal tibia, midshaft femur, proximal femur and L1 vertebra. There was a significant (p < 0.05) decline in proximal tibia trabecular BV/TV from (1) IRR compared to NR mice within Sham (− 46%) and OVX (− 41%); (2) OVX versus Sham within NR mice (− 36%) and IRR mice (− 30%). With homogenous material properties applied to the proximal tibia mesh using FEA, there was (1) an increase in whole bone (trabecular + cortical) structural stiffness from IRR compared to NR mice within Sham (+ 10%) and OVX (+ 15%); (2) a decrease in stiffness from OVX versus Sham within NR mice (− 18%) and IRR mice (− 14%). Fractionated irradiation and ovariectomy both had a negative effect on skeletal microarchitecture. Ovariectomy had a systemic effect, while skeletal radiation damage was largely specific to trabecular bone within the X-ray field.
Bone; Ovariectomy; Radiation; MicroCT; FEA