Journal of Endocrinological Investigation

, Volume 42, Issue 9, pp 1125–1131 | Cite as

Liraglutide increases bone formation and inhibits bone resorption in rats with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis

  • L. Yang
  • J. Yang
  • T. Pan
  • X. ZhongEmail author
Original Article



This study aimed to investigate the effects of liraglutide on bone metabolism markers in rat models with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIOP), including the effects on bone mass, bone tissue microstructure, bone biomechanics, and bone turnover markers.


Thirty male Sprague–Dawley rats aged 8 weeks were randomly divided into three groups: the control group (n = 10) was intramuscularly injected with an equal volume of 0.9% sodium chloride, the dexamethasone group (n = 10) was intramuscularly injected with dexamethasone at 1 mg/kg (twice a week) to induce GIOP, the dexamethasone plus liraglutide group (n = 10) was subcutaneously injected with liraglutide at 200 μg/kg daily, simultaneously. The bilateral femurs and the fifth lumbar vertebrae were collected after 12 weeks to perform micro-computed tomography and bone biomechanical examinations. Also, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRACP), cross-linked carboxy-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX-I), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and osteocalcin (OC) were tested.


The bone mineral density (BMD), bone microstructure, and bone biomechanical markers reduced significantly in the dexamethasone group compared with the control group. The bone resorption indicators (TRACP and CTX-I) increased, while the bone formation indicators (ALP and OC) decreased. After liraglutide treatment, BMD, bone microstructure, and bone biomechanical markers improved significantly. Moreover, TRACP and CTX-I decreased significantly, while ALP and OC increased compared with the dexamethasone group.


Liraglutide improved BMD, bone microstructure, and bone strength and reversed GIOP, primarily through the reduction of bone resorption and promotion of bone formation.


Bone biomechanics Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis Liraglutide Micro-CT 



This study was supported by the university natural science research fund of Anhui province (KJ2017A174).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.

Informed consent

Not applicable.


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EndocrinologyThe Second Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical UniversityHefeiPeople’s Republic of China

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