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Osteoporos Int. 2008 Jan;19(1):95-9. Epub 2007 Aug 21.

Changes in vertebral strength-density and energy absorption-density relationships following bisphosphonate treatment in beagle dogs.

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Dept. of Anatomy and Cell Biology, MS 5035, Indiana University School of Medicine, 635 Barnhill Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


We aimed to determine the effects of bisphosphonates on mechanical properties independent of changes in bone density. Our results show that at equivalent bone densities, vertebrae from beagles treated with bisphosphonate have equivalent bone strength and reduced bone energy absorption compared to those from untreated animals.


Assessing the relationship between mechanical properties and bone density allows a biomechanical evaluation of bone quality, with differences at a given density indicative of altered quality. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the strength-density and energy absorption-density relationships in vertebral bone following a one-year treatment with clinical doses of two different bisphosphonates in beagle dogs.


Areal bone mineral density (aBMD) and compressive mechanical properties (ultimate load and energy absorption) were assessed on lumbar vertebrae from skeletally mature beagle dogs treated with vehicle (VEH), alendronate (ALN), or risedronate (RIS). Relationships among properties were assessed using analyses of covariance.


Neither treatment altered the strength-density relationship compared to VEH, suggesting increases in vertebral strength with bisphosphonate-treatment are explained by increased density. The energy absorption-density relationship was altered by ALN, resulting in significantly lower energy absorption capacity at a given aBMD compared to both VEH (-22%) and RIS (-14%).


These data document that after adjusting for increased aBMD, vertebrae from animals treated with bisphosphonates have similar strength as those from untreated animals. Conversely, when adjusted for increased aBMD, alendronate treatment, but not risedronate treatment, significantly reduces the energy required for vertebral fracture, indicative of an alteration in bone quality.

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