Methylene blue (MB) is a well-established antioxidant that has been shown to improve mitochondrial function in both in vitro and in vivo settings. Mitoquinone (MitoQ) is a selective antioxidant that specifically targets mitochondria and effectively reduces the accumulation of reactive oxygen species.

To investigate the effect of long-term administration of MB on skeletal morphology, we administered MB to aged (18 months old) female C57BL/J6 mice, as well as to adult male and female mice with a genetically diverse background (UM-HET3). Additionally, we used MitoQ as an alternative approach to target mitochondrial oxidative stress during aging in adult female and male UM-HET3 mice.

Although we observed some beneficial effects of MB and MitoQ in vitro, the administration of these compounds in vivo did not alter the progression of age-induced bone loss. Specifically, treating 18-month-old female mice with MB for 6 or 12 months did not have an effect on age-related bone loss. Similarly, long-term treatment with MB from 7 to 22 months or with MitoQ from 4 to 22 months of age did not affect the morphology of cortical bone at the mid-diaphysis of the femur, trabecular bone at the distal-metaphysis of the femur, or trabecular bone at the lumbar vertebra-5 in UM-HET3 mice.

Based on our findings, it appears that long-term treatment with MB or MitoQ alone, as a means to reduce skeletal oxidative stress, is insufficient to inhibit age-associated bone loss. This supports the notion that interventions solely with antioxidants may not provide adequate protection against skeletal aging.