Synthetic glucocorticoids (GCs) are widely used in the variety of dosages for treatment of premature infants with chronic lung disease, respiratory distress syndrome, allergies, asthma, and other inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. Yet, adverse effects such as glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis and growth retardation are recognized. Conversely, 2-oxoglutarate (2-Ox), a precursor of glutamine, glutamate, and collagen amino acids, exerts protective effects on bone development. Our aim was to elucidate the effect of dietary administered 2-Ox on bone loss caused by neonatal treatment with clinically relevant maximal therapeutic dexamethasone (Dex) dose. Long bones of neonatal female piglets receiving Dex, Dex+2-Ox, or untreated were examined through measurements of mechanical properties, density, mineralization, geometry, histomorphometry, and histology. Selected hormones, bone turnover, and growth markers were also analyzed. Neonatal administration of clinically relevant maximal dose of Dex alone led to over 30% decrease in bone mass and the ultimate strength ( P < 0.001 for all). The length (13 and 7% for femur and humerus, respectively) and other geometrical parameters (13-45%) decreased compared to the control ( P < 0.001 for all). Dex impaired bone growth and caused hormonal imbalance. Dietary 2-Ox prevented Dex influence and vast majority of assessed bone parameters were restored almost to the control level. Piglets receiving 2-Ox had heavier, denser, and stronger bones; higher levels of growth hormone and osteocalcin concentration; and preserved microarchitecture of trabecular bone compared to the Dex group. 2-Ox administered postnatally had a potential to maintain bone structure of animals simultaneously treated with maximal therapeutic doses of Dex, which, in our opinion, may open up a new opportunity in developing combined treatment for children treated with GCs. Impact statement The present study has showed, for the first time, that dietary 2-oxoglutarate (2-Ox) administered postnatally has a potential to improve/maintain bone structure of animals simultaneously treated with maximal therapeutic doses of dexamethasone (Dex). It may open the new direction in searching and developing combined treatment for children treated with glucocorticoids (GCs) since growing group of children is exposed to synthetic GCs and adverse effects such as glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis and growth retardation are recognized. Currently proposed combined therapies have numerous side effects. Thus, this study proposed a new direction in combined therapies utilizing dietary supplementation with glutamine derivative. Impairment caused by Dex in presented long bones animal model was prevented by dietary supplementation with 2-Ox and vast majority of assessed bone parameters were restored almost to the control level. These results support previous thesis on the regulatory mechanism of nutrient utilization regulated by glutamine derivatives and enrich the nutritional science.
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