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Effects of the systemic administration of alendronate on bone formation in a porous hydroxyapatite/collagen composite and resorption by osteoclasts in a bone defect model in rabbits

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Several bisphosphonates are now available for the treatment of osteoporosis. Porous hydroxyapatite/collagen (HA/Col) composite is an osteoconductive bone substitute which is resorbed by osteoclasts. The effects of the bisphosphonate alendronate on the formation of bone in porous HA/Col and its resorption by osteoclasts were evaluated using a rabbit model. Porous HA/Col cylinders measuring 6 mm in diameter and 8 mm in length, with a pore size of 100 μm to 500 μm and 95% porosity, were inserted into a defect produced in the lateral femoral condyles of 72 rabbits. The rabbits were divided into four groups based on the protocol of alendronate administration: the control group did not receive any alendronate, the pre group had alendronate treatment for three weeks prior to the implantation of the HA/Col, the post group had alendronate treatment following implantation until euthanasia, and the pre+post group had continuous alendronate treatment from three weeks prior to surgery until euthanasia. All rabbits were injected intravenously with either saline or alendronate (7.5 μg/kg) once a week. Each group had 18 rabbits, six in each group being killed at three, six and 12 weeks post-operatively. Alendronate administration suppressed the resorption of the implants. Additionally, the mineral densities of newly formed bone in the alendronate-treated groups were lower than those in the control group at 12 weeks post-operatively. Interestingly, the number of osteoclasts attached to the implant correlated with the extent of bone formation at three weeks.

In conclusion, the systemic administration of alendronate in our rabbit model at a dose-for-weight equivalent to the clinical dose used in the treatment of osteoporosis in Japan affected the mineral density and remodelling of bone tissue in implanted porous HA/Col composites.

Correspondence should be sent to Professor S. Sotome; e-mail: sotome.orth@tmd.ac.jp

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