Overweightness and obesity in adolescents are epidemics linked to chronic low-grade inflammation and elevated fracture risk. The increased fracture risk observed in overweight/obese adolescence contrasts the traditional concept that high body mass is protective against fracture, and thus highlights the need to determine why weight gain becomes detrimental to fracture during growth and maturity. The Receptor for Advanced Glycation End products (RAGE) is a central inflammatory regulator that can influence bone metabolism. It remains unknown how RAGE removal impacts skeletal fragility in overweightness/obesity, and whether increased fracture risk in adolescents could result from low-grade inflammation deteriorating bone quality. We characterized the multiscale structural, mechanical, and chemical properties of tibiae extracted from adolescent C57BL/6J (WT) and RAGE null (KO) mice fed either low-fat (LF) or high-fat (HF) diet for 12 weeks starting at 6 weeks of age using micro-computed tomography, strength, Raman spectroscopy, and nanoindentation. Overweight/obese WT HF mice possessed degraded mineral-crystal quality and increased matrix glycoxidation in the form of pentosidine and carboxymethyl-lysine, with HF diet in females only showing reduced cortical surface expansion and TMD independently of RAGE ablation. Furthermore, in contrast to males, HF diet in females led to more material damage and plastic deformation. RAGE KO mitigated glycoxidative matrix accumulation, preserved mineral quantity, and led to increased E/H ratio in females. Taken together, these results highlight the complex, multi-scale and sex-dependent relationships between bone quality and function under overweightness, and identifies RAGE-controlled glycoxidation as a target to potentially preserve matrix quality and mechanical integrity.
Obesity; RAGE; Mineralization; Glycation; Bone quality