Fluoxetine treatment increases trabecular bone formation in mice (fluoxetine affects bone mass)

R. Battaglino, M. Vokes, U. Schulze-Späte, A. Sharma, D. Graves, T. Kohler, R. Müller, S. Yoganathan, P. Stashenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Mounting evidence exists for the operation of a functional serotonin (5-HT) system in osteoclasts and osteoblasts, which involves both receptor activation and 5-HT reuptake. In previous work we showed that the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) is expressed in osteoclasts and that its activity is required by for osteoclast differentiation in vitro. The purpose of the current study was to determine the effect of treatment with fluoxetine, a specific serotonin reuptake inhibitor, on bone metabolism in vivo. Systemic administration of fluoxetine to Swiss-Webster mice for 6 weeks resulted in increased trabecular BV and BV/TV in femurs and vertebrae as determined by micro-computed tomography (μCT). This correlated with an increase in trabecular number, connectivity, and decreased trabecular spacing. Fluoxetine treatment also resulted in increased volume in vertebral trabecular bone. However, fluoxetine-treated mice were not protected against bone loss after ovariectomy, suggesting that its anabolic effect requires the presence of estrogen. The effect of blocking the 5-HTT on bone loss following an LPS-mediated inflammatory challenge was also investigated. Subcutaneous injections of LPS over the calvariae of Swiss-Webster mice for 5 days resulted in increased numbers of osteoclasts and net bone loss, whereas new bone formation and a net gain in bone mass was seen when LPS was given together with fluoxetine. We conclude that fluoxetine treatment in vivo leads to increased bone mass under normal physiologic or inflammatory conditions, but does not prevent bone loss associated with estrogen deficiency. These data suggest that commonly used anti-depressive agents may affect bone mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1387-1394
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 15 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone
  • Fluoxetine
  • Serotonin


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