Fluoride Action Network


The femurs from rats given 120 ppm fluoride in their drinking water for 4 weeks were examined with histological, histochemical, and radiographic methods. Blood removed from the rats prior to sacrifice was analyzed for calcium, phosphorus, and alkaline phosphatase. Results of this study indicated that the ingestion of fluoride produced wide osteoid seams on the periosteal surface of the femoral diaphysis within 4 weeks. The increase in osteoid appeared to be due to an increase in the number of osteoid-producing cells (osteoblasts) along with a subsequent delay in the mineralization of this tissue. The metabolic activity of osteoblasts did not appear to be affected since the intracellular production of acid and alkaline phosphatase was not inhibited. However, due to the high concentration of fluoride ingested, abnormal collagen deposition and a change in bone mineral may have combined to cause a delay in osteoid mineralization. Mineralization was also delayed in the distal femoral epiphyseal plate resulting in an increase in the number of hypertrophied cells. Resorption of metaphyseal trabecular bone, presumably formed prior to fluoride administration, was increased causing a reduction in the amount of trabeculae extending into the shaft of the femur. Concurrent with these changes in bone, the serum levels of calcium, phosphorus, and alkaline phosphatase remained within normal ranges.