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Int J Med Sci. 2019 Jan 1;16(1):23-32. doi: 10.7150/ijms.27470. eCollection 2019.

Nitrogen Containing Bisphosphonates Impair the Release of Bone Homeostasis Mediators and Matrix Production by Human Primary Pre-Osteoblasts.

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Department of Biomedical, Surgical and Dental Sciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.
IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Milan, Italy.
Department of Medicine and Surgery, Insubria University, Varese, Italy.
IRCCS Fondazione Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.


Bisphosphonates (BPs) represent the first-line treatment for a wide array of bone disorders. Despite their well-known action on osteoclasts, the effects they induce on osteoblasts are still unclear. In order to shed light on this aspect we evaluated the impact of two nitrogen containing bisphosphonates, Alendronate (ALN) and Zoledronate (ZOL), on human primary pre-osteoblasts. At first, we showed an inhibitory effect on cell viability and alkaline phosphatase activity starting from µM concentrations of both drugs. In addition, an inhibitory trend on mineralized nodules deposition was observed. Then low doses of both ALN and ZOL rapidly increased the release of the pro-inflammatory mediators TNFα and IL-1β, while increased DKK-1 and Sclerostin, both inhibitors of osteoblastogenesis. Finally, ALN and 10-7M ZOL decreased the expression of type I Collagen and Osteopontin, while both drugs slightly stimulated SPARC production. With these results, we would like to suggest a direct inhibitory action on bone-forming cells by nitrogen containing bisphosphonates.


bisphosphonates; bone formation; human primary pre-osteoblasts

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interest exists.

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