The effect of mild, non-insulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM) on bone calcification and calcium (Ca) homeostasis was studied in growing rats (males and females). The diabetic state was characterized by mild insulin deficiency, plasma levels being 73% of controls, and mild hyperglycemia, with nonfasting plasma glucose levels of 1.5 times normal. There was no difference in plasma levels of Ca, phosphate (Pi), magnesium (Mg), alkaline phosphatase, immunoreactive parathyroid hormone (iPTH), calcitonin, 25-(OH)vitamin D (25[OH]D), 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25[OHrsqb;2D), and 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (24,25[OH]2D) between the NIDDM rats and their controls of either sex. Metabolic Ca and Pi balance studies revealed that the experimental animals of both sexes were in positive Ca and Pi balance similar to that of their controls. Histologic studies of the kidney and intestinal slices from the experimental group were normal.
Ca and Pi bone content calculated per gram bone ash of the femur, mandible, and second and fourth caudal vertebrae, and the organic content in the bones of the NIDDM animals showed no difference from their controls. Femur bone density and tibial epiphyseal growth plate width and morphology were similar histologically in the experimental and control rats. No decreased osteoid content in the tibial bone was found in the diabetic rats compared with controls.
Physiologic sex differences, consisting of lower plasma Pi, higher plasma calcitonin levels, increased ratio of femur dry bone weight to total body weight, and increased percentage of mineralized and total bone volume at the tibial metaphysis seen in female compared with male control rats were also seen in the diabetic animals.
The data reveal that, in states of mild insulin deficiency in the rat, the factors that regulate mineral metabolism are functioning normally and bone mineralization proceeds without alterations. In addition, physiologic sex differences are preserved. There is no indication for bone loss under these conditions.