High-dose Alendronate Uncouples Osteoclast and Osteoblast Function: A Study in a Rat Spine Pseudarthrosis Model


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Abstract

The effect of alendronate on osteoclast and osteoblast function was studied in a novel spine pseudarthrosis model in rats. Sixty-three Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into three groups: control group (saline), therapeutic dose group (1 μg/kg/week), and one-log overdose group (10 μg/kg/week). Animals had L4-L5 posterior intertransverse process fusion with limited bone graft and were sacrificed at 2, 4, and 6 weeks. Manual palpation showed no notable differences among groups. Treatment group radiographic scores were equal to or better than control group scores and were higher than the overdose group at 2 and 6 weeks. Qualitatively, limited histologic remodeling and poor osteoclastic and osteoblastic function were noted in the alendronate treated groups. Quantitative histologic analysis showed fewer osteoclasts in the therapeutic and high-dose groups (p < 0.001). The percent osteoblasts per bone surface area was lower in the high-dose group (p < 0.05). The results suggest that the effect of alendronate was dose dependent and animal model dependent and that supranormal doses of alendronate had a deleterious effect on osteoclastic and osteoblastic function in this model.

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