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Bone. 2010 Jan;46(1):203-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2009.10.023. Epub 2009 Oct 24.

Bisphosphonates do not inhibit periosteal bone formation in estrogen deficient animals and allow enhanced bone modeling in response to mechanical loading.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Indiana University School of Medicine, 635 Barnhill Drive, MS-5035, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


The suppressive effects of bisphosphonates (BPs) on bone remodeling are clear yet there is conflicting data concerning the effects of BPs on modeling (specifically formation modeling on the periosteal surface). The normal periosteal expansion that occurs during aging has significant benefits to maintaining/improving the bones' mechanical properties and thus it is important to understand whether BPs affect this bone surface. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the effects of BPs on periosteal bone formation modeling induced by ovariectomy (OVX) and mechanical loading. Six-month-old Sprague-Dawley OVX rats (n=60; 12/group) were administered vehicle, risedronate, alendronate, or zoledronate at doses used clinically for treatment of post-menopausal osteoporosis. Three weeks after initiating BP treatment, all animals underwent in vivo ulnar loading of the right limb every other day for 1 week (3 total sessions). Periosteal surface mineral apposition rate, mineralizing surface, and bone formation rate were determined at the mid-diaphysis of both loaded (right) and non-loaded (left) ulnae. There was no significant effect of any of the BPs on periosteal bone formation parameters compared to VEH-treated animals in the non-loaded limb, suggesting that BP treatment does not compromise the normal periosteal expansion associated with estrogen loss. Mechanical loading significantly increased BFR in the loaded limb compared to the non-loaded limb in all BP-treated groups, with no difference in the magnitude of this effect among the various BPs. Collectively, these data show that BP treatment, at doses comparable to those used for treatment of post-menopausal osteoporosis, (1) does not alter the periosteal formation activity that occurs in the absence of estrogen and (2) allows normal stimulation of periosteal bone formation in response to the anabolic stimulation of mechanical loading.

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