Skeletal unloading causes bone loss in both men and women; however, only a few studies have been performed on the effects of gender differences on bone quality during skeletal unloading. Moreover, although the fibula also plays an important role in load bearing and ankle stability, the effects of unloading on the fibula have been rarely investigated. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of skeletal unloading on bone quality of the tibia and fibula in growing animals and to determine whether differences existed between genders. Six-week-old female and male mice were randomly allocated into two groups. The right hindlimb of each mouse in the skeletal unloading group was subjected to sciatic neurectomy. After two weeks of skeletal unloading, the structural characteristics of the tibia and fibula in both genders were worsened. In addition, the bone mineralization density distribution (MDD) of the tibia and fibula in both genders were altered. However, the magnitude of deterioration and alteration of the MDD in the bones of females were larger than in those of males. These results demonstrate that skeletal unloading diminishes bone quality in the tibia and fibula, leading to an increase in bone fracture risks, particularly in females.

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