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Orthopedics. 2002 Jan;25(1):59-63.

Inhibition of particulate debris-induced osteolysis by alendronate in a rat model.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Illinois at Chicago, Cook County Hospital, USA.


A rat model was used to study the efficacy of alendronate therapy in inhibition of particle-induced periprosthetic osteolysis. A prosthesis was simulated by inserting a cylindrical polymethylmethacrylate plug into the distal femur of 24 rats allowing the plug to communicate with the joint space. Intra-articular injections of irregularly-shaped ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene particles of 20-200 pm in diameter were administered at 2-week intervals. The rats were randomized into two groups (n=12 each). Group A rats received twice weekly subcutaneous injections of alendronate sodium while group B rats received injections of saline vehicle only. At 10 weeks all rats were sacrificed. The distal femurs were harvested and axial sections were prepared for histologic analysis. Each section was graded on a scale of 1-4, quantifying the degree of osteolysis surrounding the polymethylmethacrylate plug. Microscopic examination showed a significant (P<.0001) difference in the amount of periprosthetic bone. Femurs from group A treated with alendronate demonstrated mostly normal or near-normal periprosthetic trabeculations, whereas femurs from group B treated with saline showed extensive bone resorption. There was no qualitative difference in the inflammatory cellular response between the groups. This study established the ability of alendronate to inhibit the osteoclastic-mediated osteolysis around joint implants.

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