We have previously demonstrated that ethanol has a direct toxic effect on the rat skeleton characterized by decreased trabecular bone volume. In the present study, we examined the ultrastructure of the distal radial epiphyseal growth plates in these same animals. Eight weeks of ethanol administration to 12 male rats results in serum alcohol levels of 140 mg/dl but did not alter the width or light microscopic appearance of the radial growth plate. Quantitative electron microscopy failed to demonstrate morphologic evidence of toxicity in the skeletal cells. We conclude that although ethanol appears to have a direct effect on rat bone characterized by enhanced resorption, toxicity is not attended by ultrastructural changes in the skeletal cells.
- Electron microscopy
- Growth plate