Troels T. Andreassen

The Anabolic Effect of PTH on Bone is Attenuated by Simultaneous Glucocorticoid Treatment

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  • Department of Anatomy
Glucocorticoids (GC) are used for the treatment of a wide spectrum of diseases because of their potent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects, and they are serious and common causes of secondary osteoporosis. Administration of intermittent parathyroid hormone (PTH) may induce formation of new bone and may counteract the bone loss induced by GC treatment. Effects of simultaneous PTH and GC treatment were investigated on bone biomechanics, static and dynamic histomorphometry, and bone metabolism. Twenty-seven-month-old female rats were divided randomly into the following groups: baseline, vehicle, PTH, GC, and PTH + GC. PTH (1-34) 25 mug/kg and GC (methylprednisolone) 2.5 mg/kg were injected subcutaneously each day for a treatment period of 8 weeks. The rats were labeled with fluorochromes 3 times during the experiment. Bone sections were studied by fluorescence microscopy. The PTH injections resulted in a 5-fold increase in cancellous bone volume. At the proximal tibia, PTH induced a pronounced formation of new cancellous bone which originated from the endocortical bone surfaces and from thin trabeculae. Formation and modeling of connections between trabeculae were observed. Similar but less pronounced structural changes were seen in the PTH + GC group. The compressive strength of the cancellous bone was increased by 6-fold in the PTH group compared with the vehicle group. GC partially inhibited the increase in compressive strength induced by PTH. Concerning cortical bone, PTH induced a pronounced increase in the endocortical bone formation rate (BFR) and a smaller increase in periosteal BFR. The combination of PTH + GC resulted in a partial inhibition of the PTH-induced increase in bone formation. Serum-osteocalcin was increased by 65% in the PTH group and reduced by 39% in the GC group. The pronounced anabolic effect of PTH injections on the endocortical and trabecular bone surfaces and less pronounced anabolic effect on periosteal surfaces were partially inhibited, but not prevented, by simultaneous GC treatment in old rats. Both cortical and cancellous bone possessed full mechanical competence after treatment with PTH + GC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-252
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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