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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 635023, 12 pages
Review Article

The Ovariectomized Rat as a Model for Studying Alveolar Bone Loss in Postmenopausal Women

1Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, Canada L2S 3A1
2Centre for Bone and Muscle Health, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, Canada L2S 3A1

Received 7 October 2014; Accepted 2 March 2015

Academic Editor: Andrea Vecchione

Copyright © 2015 Bryan D. Johnston and Wendy E. Ward. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In postmenopausal women, reduced bone mineral density at the hip and spine is associated with an increased risk of tooth loss, possibly due to a loss of alveolar bone. In turn, having fewer natural teeth may lead to compromised food choices resulting in a poor diet that can contribute to chronic disease risk. The tight link between alveolar bone preservation, tooth retention, better nutritional status, and reduced risk of developing a chronic disease begins with the mitigation of postmenopausal bone loss. The ovariectomized rat, a widely used preclinical model for studying postmenopausal bone loss that mimics deterioration of bone tissue in the hip and spine, can also be used to study mineral and structural changes in alveolar bone to develop drug and/or dietary strategies aimed at tooth retention. This review discusses key findings from studies investigating mandible health and alveolar bone in the ovariectomized rat model. Considerations to maximize the benefits of this model are also included. These include the measurement techniques used, the age at ovariectomy, the duration that a rat is studied after ovariectomy and habitual diet consumed.