Objective: The rice rat (Oryzomys palustris) develops periodontitis-like lesions when fed a diet rich in sucrose and casein (H-SC). We aimed to establish whether this model can accurately mimic the development of human periodontitis. Materials and Methods: For this purpose, 28-day-old rice rats (15/group) were assigned to standard (STD) or H-SC diets and sacrificed after 6, 12, and 18weeks. Jaws were processed for morphometric, histometric, histologic, histomorphometric, and micro-CT analyses. Results: We found a progressive increase in horizontal alveolar bone loss (ABL) with age in maxillae of rats fed the STD diet as determined by morphometry. The H-SC diet exacerbated horizontal ABL at the palatal surface at 12 and 18weeks. Furthermore, increased vertical ABL was detected in mandibles and maxillae of rats fed the H-SC diet for 12 and/or 18weeks by histometry and micro-CT. Remarkably, the H-SC diet significantly increased bone remodeling at the interproximal alveolar bone of mandibles from rats fed for 6weeks, but not in those fed for longer periods. Conclusions: These findings indicate that the H-SC diet induced a transient increase in alveolar bone remodeling, which is followed by ABL characteristic of moderate periodontitis.
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