Bone Metabolism and CLA

Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Bone Biology

Bruce A. Watkins, PhD, FACN, and Mark F. Seifert, PhD

Purdue University, Department of Food Science, Lipid Chemistry and Molecular Biology Laboratory, West Lafayette, Indiana, and Department of Anatomy, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana E-mail:

Osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and inflammatory joint disease afflict millions of people worldwide. Inflammatory cytokines inhibit chondrocyte proliferation and induce cartilage degradation for which part of the response is mediated by PGE2. Excess production of PGE2 is linked to osteoporosis and arthritis and is associated with bone and proteoglycan loss. PGE2 also influences the IGF-I/IGFBP axis to facilitate bone and cartilage formation. Recent investigations with growing rats given butter fat and supplements of CLA demonstrated an increased rate of bone formation and reduced ex vivo bone PGE2 production, respectively. Furthermore, the supplements of CLA isomers resulted in their enrichment in lipids of various bone compartments of animals. The effects of CLA on bone biology in rats (IGF action and cytokines) appear to be dependent on the level of n-6 and n-3 fatty acids in the diet; however, these studies generally showed that CLA decreased ex vivo bone PGE2 production and in osteoblast-like cultures. Anti-inflammatory diets, including nutraceutical applications of CLA, may be beneficial in moderating cyclooygenase 2 (COX-2) activity or expression (influencing PGE2 biosynthesis) and might help to reduce rheumatoid arthritis (secondary osteoporosis). This review summarizes findings of CLA on bone modeling in rats and effects on cellular functions of osteoblasts and chondrocytes. These experiments indicate that CLA isomers possess anti-inflammatory activity in bone by moderating prostanoid formation.

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