Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2017 December; 72(12): 785-789.

Copyright © 2017 CLINICS

Second hand tobacco smoke adversely affects the bone of immature rats

Rodrigo César Rosa I * , Sângela Cunha Pereira II , Fabrizio Antônio Gomide Cardoso I , Abadio Gonçalves Caetano I , Hildemberg Agostinho Rocha de Santiago III , José Batista Volpon III

Departamento de Biologia Estrutural, Universidade Federal do Triangulo Mineiro, Uberaba, MG, BR

Graduacao, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Uberaba, Uberaba, MG, BR

Departamento de Biomecanica, Medicina e Reabilitacao do Aparelho Locomotor, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirao Preto, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, SP, BR

*Corresponding author. E-mail:

received June 15, 2017; revised September 21, 2017; accepted October 17, 2017.



To evaluate the influence of secondhand cigarette smoke exposure on longitudinal growth of the tibia of growing rats and some parameters of bone quality.


Forty female rats were randomly divided into four groups: control: rats were sham exposed; 30 days: rats were exposed to tobacco smoke for 30 days; 45 days: rats were exposed to tobacco smoke for 45 days; and 60 days: rats were exposed to tobacco smoke for 60 days. Blood samples were collected to evaluate the levels of cotinine and alkaline phosphatase. Both tibias were dissected and weighed; the lengths were measured, and the bones were then stored in a freezer for analysis of bone mineral content and mechanical resistance (maximal load and stiffness).


Exposure of rats to tobacco smoke significantly compromised bone health, suggesting that the harmful effects may be time dependent. Harmful effects on bone growth were detected and were more pronounced at 60-day follow-ups with a 41.8% reduction in alkaline phosphatase levels (p<0.01) and a decrease of 11.25% in tibia length (p<0.001). Furthermore, a 41.5% decrease in bone mineral density was observed (p<0.001), leading to a 42.8% reduction in maximum strength (p<0.001) and a 56.7% reduction in stiffness (p<0.001).


Second hand cigarette smoke exposure in rats affected bones that were weaker, deforming them and making them osteopenic. Additionally, the long bone was shorter, suggesting interference with growth. Such events seem to be related to time of exposure.

Keywords: Smoking, Bone Development, Bone Density, Tibia, Rats

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